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Annulments are much more difficult to obtain than divorces because, unlike divorce, a court grants annulments under very limited circumstances. But couples seeking annulments generally do so for social, financial and religious reasons that divorce does not satisfy. When seeking annulment in New Jersey, the marriage is either originally void, or it’s voidable based upon certain criteria. Though you are only required to go to court to have a voidable marriage nullified, it’s advisable to ask the court to formally recognize an annulment even if your marriage is already legally void. The Family & Divorce Law attorneys at Castronovo & McKinney have experience helping New Jersey residents annul their marriages.
What is an Annulment?
An annulment does more than end a marriage. It treats it as though the marriage never existed. Many people mistakenly believe that you may obtain an annulment solely on the basis of time, thinking you can annul your marriage if you’ve only been married for a few days or weeks. This is actually not a factor at all. There are legal grounds you must assert and prove to obtain an annulment, and they vary from state to state.
Annulment in N.J.
In New Jersey, an annulment is legally referred to as Nullity of a Marriage. The following are grounds for Nullity of Marriage in New Jersey.
- Bigamy – one spouse is still married to another party.
- Duress – one spouse was forced into marriage under threat of serious violence.
- Incest – the parties are blood relatives as prohibited by New Jersey law.
- Fraud – one party was tricked into consenting to the marriage by fraud or misrepresentation that is vital to the essentials of the marriage. For example, a woman is pregnant by someone other than her spouse and lied about it.
- Age – either party was under 18 years of age at the time of the marriage.
- Impotence – either spouse is unable or unwilling to consummate the marriage and the other spouse was unaware of this impotency when they got married. This also applies if a woman is unable to bear children and concealed this information from her spouse.
- Incapacity – either party lacked the mental capacity to consent to the marriage due to intoxication or deficient mental condition.
Although length of marriage is not a criterion, New Jersey annulments are typically only granted when the marriage is of a short duration and there are no significant marital debts or assets. Any property accumulated is divided under the basis of general contract law. Though alimony is permitted, New Jersey courts usually don’t order alimony payments in cases of annulment. If there are children of the relationship, courts will award custody and child support.
About Castronovo & McKinney, Family & Divorce Law
Castronovo & McKinney brings more than 12 years of family law experience to assist you with your marital situation. Our capable lawyers will meet with you to determine whether your marriage is eligible for annulment, and if so, under what grounds. We will explain the process, what you can expect and determine how best to proceed. Our legal team offers you the best possible legal representation with sensitivity and respect.
Please contact our New Jersey divorce lawyers at Castonovo & McKinney to discuss the possibility of annulment. Call our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 920-7888 to schedule a confidential consultation.