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Annulment Attorney in Daytona Beach

Although they both terminate a marriage, divorce and annulment are not the same. Divorce is granted to dissolve an existing marital relationship when there are irreconcilable differences. Annulment is granted when the court determines that the marriage was not valid in the first place.

Who Is Eligible for Annulment in Daytona Beach?

Divorce is required to terminate a marriage that was legally created. For annulment to be possible, there must have been a defect in the formation of the marriage. The marriage must be voidable, or in other words, the union should never have been allowed under existing law. For example, a basis for annulment may exist if:

  • One spouse was legally married to someone else when the union was formed.
  • One spouse was underage at the time of the marriage.
  • One spouse lied about a fundamental aspect of the marriage.

There is no specific statute in Florida governing grounds for annulment. Family court judges look at previous cases for guidance in determining if annulment is appropriate in a particular case. Under state law, a marriage can be annulled if it involves bigamy or incest, or if it was obtained through duress, fraud, or temporary insanity.

What Constitutes an Annulment Case Based on Fraud?

Fraud in a marriage can occur when one party intentionally misrepresents facts, knowing the other party is relying on those facts, and the victim relies on the misrepresentation in consenting to the marriage. For example, it could be considered fraudulent to enter into a marriage with no intention of living as husband and wife. For an annulment to be granted based on fraud, the victim must seek annulment within a reasonable time after the fraud is discovered. Otherwise, divorce may be required to terminate the union.

When Can Annulment Be Based on Duress?

A person who entered a marriage solely due to duress may have legal grounds for annulment. In this context, duress is pressure so strong that deprives the victim of his or her capacity to refuse the marriage. For annulment to be granted by the court, you must prove with clear and convincing evidence that duress occurred. The court may determine that the union was ratified, even when there was duress, if benefits of the marriage, such as cohabitation or consummation, were later accepted by the victim.

What Happens When Annulment Is Granted?

When the court grants an annulment, it declares that the marriage never existed legally. Each party is returned to pre-marriage status. In an annulment, unlike divorce, there is no alimony or division of marital property. The law treats the relationship as though it was never a marriage, so there is no marital property to divide. Both parties leave with the property they had when they began the relationship.

How Do You Know Whether to Pursue Divorce or Annulment?

If you are ready to terminate your relationship, your best course of action is to speak with an experienced lawyer. Our Daytona Beach family law attorneys can advise you on whether to seek a divorce or an annulment. Divorce is far more common because annulment can be granted only under limited circumstances. Florida is a no-fault state for divorce, meaning you are not required to prove adultery, mental incapacity, or other grounds. The law only requires irreconcilable differences.

At Politis & Matovina, we have more than a century of combined experience and extensive knowledge of the law. We can review your case and provide sound legal advice and guidance. If you are not eligible for annulment, we can assist you in filing for divorce. Contact us today at (386) 333-6613.

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