There is a lot of confusion among the general public about what an annulment is. Many people connect annulments with churches. Religious annulments can only be granted by members of the clergy or churches and don’t affect a person’s legal status. Civil annulments are legal and binding on the individuals involved.
An annulment is different from a divorce, although the end result is the same – the marriage is over. In a divorce, a marriage ends an existing marriage. In an annulment, a relationship that everyone believed was a marriage is proven to not be a marriage at all. An annulled marriage is legally considered to have never existed at all.
Florida law doesn’t explicitly provide for annulments. However, Florida courts have issued decisions about annulments that are binding. In Florida, some grounds for annulment include:
- One spouse was underage and lacked parental consent;
- One or both spouses got married as a joke;
- One spouse is impotent and the other spouse was unaware of the impotence;
- One of the spouses lied in order to trick the other into getting married;
- One of the spouses lacked the mental ability to enter into a marriage because of a mental problem or drugs or alcohol;
- The spouses were of the same sex;
- The marriage is bigamous or incestuous; and
- One of the spouses is permanently mentally incapacitated.
In order to get an annulment instead of a divorce, annulment papers must be filed in a Florida court, and the process is fairly similar to a divorce. However, annulments are often harder to get than divorces, because there is a higher burden of proof that the parties must show. The court will decide about child support, custody and visitation in an annulment case. The court also has the power to grant temporary alimony in annulment cases. Permanent alimony is not ordinarily awarded in annulment cases, but it can be.
If you are interested in an annulment or divorce in Florida, call New Port Richey, Florida alimony attorney Dale Bernstein. He can be reached at 727-478-3250. He is a qualified divorce attorney and works with clients in Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Call our team today to learn more.