Requirements for an Annulment in Florida
For some people, such as those who are very religious or those who do not want a divorce on their relationship track record, annulment is an attractive option when it comes to ending their unions. Unlike some states in which annulment is not an option, Florida does recognize annulment as a means for ending a marriage. However, in order to qualify for annulment, the marriage must meet certain requirements.
Florida Recognizes Annulments When…
The state of Florida does not allow every couple that wishes to separate to go through with an annulment. When a couple gets an annulment, the parties essentially agree that their marriage was never really a marriage in the first place. A couple that lived together and acted like a married couple cannot say such a thing with any degree of truth. For this reason, the state requires one of the following to be true before it grants an annulment:
- One Spouse Was or Is Underage: A person who is under the age of 18 is not an adult, and therefore, cannot consent to marriage without a parent’s permission or the court’s approval. If you or your spouse was under the age of 18 when you exchanged vows, you may obtain an annulment.
- The Marriage Was Founded on Fraud or Duress: In order for a marriage to be considered valid in the state of Florida, both parties must have entered the union freely and voluntarily. If you can prove that you were coerced into the union or that you agreed to the union under false pretenses, the union is considered fraudulent, and the court will annul it.
- Other Grounds: Other grounds for annulment in Florida include mental incapacity, inability for one or both parties to perform sexually, bigamy, incest, or a marriage that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If one party of the marriage has a physical disability that renders him or her impotent or barren, the other party may file for an annulment.
Void Vs. Voidable Marriages
Florida law does not contain any statutes concerning annulment, which makes obtaining an annulment just as difficult as a divorce, if not more so. In order to receive an annulment, one or both parties must provide proof of one of the qualifying grounds to be true. If the grounds are, say, impotency, this can be very difficult to prove, especially without humiliating the impotent party. That said, Florida law does provide that a “void” or “voidable” marriage can be annulled.
A “void” marriage is one that truly did not exist by legal standards. Such marriages may be bigamous ones, such as in the case of Wright v. Wright, or a marriage by someone who is already married. A voidable marriage is one that, for all intents and purposes, appears valid, but that is actually invalid based on one or more circumstances. An example of a voidable marriage would be one in which the husband finds out that the wife was pregnant by another man at the time of the union.
Divorce is Almost Always the Better (and Only) Option
Though Florida does allow for annulments in extreme circumstances, the state prefers that most marriages end in divorce, which is why the law does not have a statute for annulments. If you want to end your marriage and are wondering if annulment is right for you, consult with a Boca Raton divorce attorney regarding your options. Call the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A. today to speak with a knowledgeable family lawyer.