In the State of Florida, a marriage can end by divorce decree or annulment. The two have key differences and, while both come at the end of a marriage, the results are quite different as well. Additionally, not everyone will qualify for an annulment. It cannot simply be that two people agree to end a marriage. There are specific circumstances that would lead to two people qualifying for an annulment.
What is the difference between an annulment and divorce?
The key difference between a divorce and an annulment is actually quite simple. With a divorce, a court is declaring that, while a valid marriage existed, that marriage has ended. With an annulment, the court is declaring that a valid marriage never existed and is thus void. A marriage eligible for annulment is either void or voidable. A void marriage is one that has always been void. A voidable marriage is one that may be voided by the court should either party seek an annulment ending things. If both parties to the voidable marriage wish to continue to be married, they are legally able to do so. Simply put, a divorce will dissolve a marriage, but an annulment will declare that a valid marriage never even existed.
What Grounds are there for an Annulment?
There are several reasons an annulment may be granted. For instance, if either party to the alleged marriage was under the age of 18, the marriage would be void. Florida law prohibits the marriage of minors without the consent of his or her parent or guardian or court approval.
An annulment may be granted if it is proven that the marriage was the result of fraud or duress. A valid marriage is one that must have been entered into freely and voluntarily. If a person entered into the marriage under false pretenses, such as a material lie, the marriage may be determined to be a product of fraud and thus eligible for annulment. If a person entered into a marriage under the force of threat or coercion, the marriage may be found to have been the product of duress and would be eligible for annulment.
There are several other grounds for an annulment, including if either party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Bigamy and incest are also grounds for annulment as the marriage would be found void in the first place. Whatever grounds under which you are seeking an annulment, you will need to file a petition for annulment with your local county court. In the petition, you will be required to state background information about the marriage and why you are seeking an annulment. You will also need to specify any marital assets involved and whether or not there were children resulting from the marriage. If there are significant assets or children resulting from the marriage, you may be required by the court to seek a divorce instead of an annulment.
Orlando Divorce Attorney
There are many reasons you may be considering ending your marriage. Whatever that reason may be, the dedicated divorce attorneys at the Orlando Family Team will stand by your side at a time when you most need a trusted advocate. Contact us today.