A wedding, for many, marks a happy occasion in their lives. But after the cake is gone and the presents
opened, many people find marriage doesn't work out for them. Most people seeking to end a marriage
use the traditional method of filing for divorce. But for various reasons, you may want to consider an
annulment of marriage instead.
An annulment declares a marriage null and void from the very beginning, almost as if the marriage never
even occurred in the first place. Historically, there are some very specific reasons why a couple or one
party in the marriage would seek an annulment. They include:
Religious reasons, especially religions that prohibit divorce;
When a minor child gets married without parental consent;
Marriages entered into when one party lacks the capacity to enter the marriage because of an existing
marriage, intoxication or diminished mental capacity; An inability to consummate the marriage (which is
different from sterility); Being coerced into marriage; Or when one party misrepresents his or herself to
the other party, or fraud, essentially.
You can't get an annulment of marriage (most of the time) if you have been married longer than six
months, purchased assets together, consummated the marriage, lived together as a married couple
and/or generally got along well.
Here's a typical annulment scenario. Jack and Jill get married. Shortly after the marriage, though, Jill
finds out Jack was sterilized the year before. Yet all through their courtship, Jack told Jill he wanted
children and wanted to get started having kids right away. Jack lied about who he was and what his
intent of marriage was. Jill has grounds to prove Jack entered into the marriage fraudulently and could
apply for annulment of marriage to Jack.
In Florida, though, the laws around annulment of marriage are fairly undefined. In fact, the state has not
statutes for annulment on the books at all. Courts rely on decades of prior case law and the specifics of
each case to determine whether or not to grant an annulment. There is also no established procedure in
the state. Finally, Florida doesn't guarantee the right to an annulment, even if you meet the criteria.
Before applying for an annulment of marriage, it's important to examine your reasons for doing so and
to make sure you meet the general criteria used in other states and outlined above. If you feel strongly
your marriage should be invalidated, then proceed with the knowledge you may not get the outcome
you're looking for. You should also note that under Annulments, the grounds could fall under one of two
categories. It could be a void marriage because one spouse to the marriage is still married to someone
else, i.e., Bigamist. In this event, it would be unnecessary to prove any one of the reasons set forth
above. The second basis is known as a voidable marriage. In this event, you must prove one or more of
the reasons reflected above.
Filing for an annulment of marriage is a lot like filing for divorce. One party files a Petition. Then there is
a summons and your spouse is served with process. Your spouse has the opportunity to answer the
petition. If there is property, it will get divided much as it would in a divorce proceeding. or your best
chance of success to annul a marriage in Florida, it's important to work with a qualified divorce attorney
from the ORNER LAW FIRM, P.L.L.C. who represents clients in all cities throughout Broward, Palm Beach
and Dade Counties who can walk you through the steps and help you navigate the very uncharted
waters of annulments in Florida.