Protect the interests of an underage married child
The marriage was void for legal reasons
They want to protect their retirement and insurance benefits from claims by an ex-spouse
Florida law allows for two types of annulment. Some marriages are void because the marriage is unlawful based on statutory grounds. The marriage was illegal from its inception.
A voidable marriage is a marriage that the court can cancel under specific circumstances. The marriage may be flawed, but must be challenged by one or both spouses to be annulled.
What Are the Grounds for Annulment in Florida?
Obtaining an annulment in Florida requires you to prove at least one of the following conditions:
One or both spouses materially represented themselves
One or both spouses lacked mental competency to enter the marriage because of mental incompetency or intoxication
One or both spouses could not consummate the marriage
Several situations could fall under the three conditions to obtain an annulment. Examples of legal grounds for annulments in Florida include:
Duress – A person was forced into marriage by threats of physical harm or other coercion
Minors – A person under 18 years of age cannot obtain a marriage license unless they are at least 17 years of age and have written parental consent or consent from a legal guardian and the older party is not more than two years older than the younger party
Bigamy – A person cannot be legally married to two people at the same time
Impotence – A spouse is unable to engage in sexual intercourse and/or concealed the fact they cannot have children
Insanity – One of the spouses is incapable of understanding the marriage or is mentally unstable
Denial of Martial Rights – A spouse refuses to have sexual relations and/or live with the other spouse
Fraud – A spouse intentionally and knowingly deceived the other spouse through misrepresentation of information
Either spouse can petition for an annulment in Florida. However, a parent, family member, or legal guardian may also petition for an annulment on behalf of a minor or an impaired adult who did not have the capacity to enter into the marriage.
The Effect of Annulment of Children and Property Division
Parents must continue to financially support their children. Therefore, annulling a marriage does not end parental rights or obligations. If the parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, the court enters a parenting plan along with the child support order.
If a marriage never existed, there is no marital property. Therefore, the parties should retain all property they had before the marriage or acquired during the marriage. However, there could be exceptions if the parties have substantial shared assets.
Can a Spouse Object to an Annulment?
The spouse served with the annulment petition can file an answer challenging the annulment. If the marriage was void, it was illegal and, under the law, never occurred. However, the court might consider objections to a voidable marriage.
For example, a spouse learned after the marriage that their partner could not have children. The partner knew this before the marriage but failed to disclose the information. Upon learning the information, the innocent spouse continued with the marriage and voiced that the couple could adopt.
However, the innocent spouse decided they wanted an annulment a year later. The court might find that the innocent spouse ratified or affirmed the marriage. Therefore, the spouse must petition for a divorce instead of an annulment.
The best way to know whether you qualify for an annulment and to protect your best interests and rights is to consult with an Orlando annulment lawyer.