‘A marriage may be annulled for any cause which has prevented the parties from contracting a valid marriage. The invalidity of a marriage may arise from (1) a want of legal capacity to contract, or a statutory prohibition against the type of marriage in question, (2) a want of mental capacity to contract, (3) a lack of actual consent to the contract, (4) a consent wrongfully procured by force, duress, fraud, or concealment, and (5) a lack of physical capacity to consummate.’
A Void Marriage is one where the nullity of the marriage cannot be fixed by any action of either party such as an incestious marriage, bigomy, underage party (although exceptions exist), physical incapaticy (impotence, not sterility) as a cause for annulment (which much be acted upon promtply) although this issue is now in flux as same-sex marriages have come to fruition.
Lack of consent as a cause for annulment – If either party intended the marriage as a sham and not one where the duties and rights of a marriage are intended, such a marriage can be annulled absent consummation. For instance, if the marriage is entered into by the parties for the purpose of obtaining residency. Such a marriage for immigration purposes may even be prosecuted criminally.
Duress and undue influence – In order to prove such an allegation, the duress must control the entire transaction and be such that the person subjected to the undue influence was prevented from acting freely.
Mental incapacity – This can occur if one or both parties lack sufficient mental capacity to understand the nature of the contract of marriage and the responsibilities of the marriage. Temporary mental incapacity can be cure the issue and make the marriage voidable.
Fraud – Such fraud must have been perpetrated prior to the marriage and done with the purpose making a party take action. A woman falsely claiming pregnancy to trick a person into marriage may not be sufficient if the marriage is later consummated.
- Marriage is a nullity at inception
- Impediment is a total bar
- Issue may be raised in any court proceeding
- Anyone can raise the issue
- Issue can be raised at any time
- Children are illegitimate
- Consummation has no effect on validity.
A Voidable marriage is one where the impediment at the time of entering into the marriage can be cured such as if one party is impaired at the time of the entry of the marriage and the parties can later ratify the marriage.
- Marriage is valid until annulled
- Impediment may be cured
- Issue may be raised only in direct annulment proceeding
- Only innocient party may raise the issue
- Issue can be raised only while both parties are alive and defect not yet cured
- Children are legitimate even if annulled
- Consummation may effect validity.
Effects of Annulment
The annulment is not retroactive making children conceived during the marriage, children of the marriage. However, when addressing the rights of a child born of an annulled marriage with regards to rights of inheritance, the issue becomes clouded and a lawyer should be retained.
Other issues that are effected by an annulment include, social security benefits, alimony of prior marriages, health insurance benefits and other issues of child support.
Call Our Port St. Lucie Annulment Attorneys Today for Help
Getting an annulment is an incredibly complex undertaking. However, if you are certain that you want your marriage to be ended by annulment instead of divorce, our attorneys can help. Contact the Port St. Lucie annulment lawyers today at Baginski Brandt & Brandt by calling us at 772-466-0707 to schedule a free consultation.