Divorce With Respect

Can you get an annulment instead of a divorce in California?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Family Law |

California family law allows some people to have their marriages annulled in certain situations. However, annulment is not an option available to everyone.

A divorce ends a marriage. An annulment, however, essentially erases the marriage, making it as though it never occurred. It may seem easier to get an annulment rather than a divorce. However, even if you qualify, it is still a complex legal matter typically benefitting from professional guidance.

What are the legal grounds for a California annulment?

To qualify for an annulment, you must show that your marriage should not have ever taken place. In most annulments, there is an element of incapacity or misrepresentation that you must prove. Six of the grounds for annulment in our state include the following:

  1. The two spouses are related to each other by blood
  2. A spouse was incapable of consenting to the marriage.
  3. A party was currently married to a living spouse.
  4. A spouse was not of sound mind when they got married.
  5. One party forced or coerced the other party to agree to the marriage.
  6. A spouse was physically incapable of consummating the marriage.

If you can prove one or more of the grounds above, a court may award the annulment. However, you should know that if you choose to continue living with your spouse, your request for an annulment, even if you have grounds, may fail.

Say that you were not yourself (of unsound mind) when you married your spouse, but your condition improved afterward. If you choose to stay with your spouse but then decide to end the marriage a few years later, you will no longer qualify for an annulment.

It is wise to continue improving your knowledge of California divorce laws and family laws in general when you want to end a marriage and to seek experienced legal guidance.