Can You File for Annulment in Florida?
Can You File for Annulment in Florida? Yes, Florida allows for marriages to be annulled in some instances. Before you run out with plans to have your marriage annulled, though, it’s important to understand what an annulment is and how it differs from divorce, as well as the procedure for requesting an annulment.
In order to get an annulment, you have to meet certain qualifications that are recognized by the state courts. You may also qualify for an annulment if the spouses did not cohabitate as husband and wife or consummate the marriage.
Because Florida presumes all marriages are valid and legal, persons seeking an annulment have a difficult burden of proof to surpass. You’ll need strong evidence to support your claim for an annulment.
Divorce versus Annulment
Because Florida doesn’t have a specific statute that addresses annulment, some people prefer to file for divorce since there are steps to follow. It’s a bit of a tricky process, which is why it’s important to retain a skilled Florida family law attorney if you plan to file for annulment.
To qualify for an annulment, the courts require you have a void or voidable marriage. A marriage that is void is one that was never valid from the start. It might be because the spouse was still legally married to someone else or the married parties are closely related. If one spouse is mentally incapacitated, they cannot legally consent to marriage, so the marriage would be void as well.
A voidable marriage is one that is legally valid, but there are reasons that either spouse can opt to end it, or remain legally married. Inability to consent is part of a voidable marriage, as well, but the difference is whether it’s permanent. A person who was intoxicated at the time of marriage could not consent, but once they sobered up, they could choose to end it or stay legally married. It’s important to note that in Florida, a voidable marriage can be ratified, or made valid, by consummating the marriage once they know the truth.
Effects of Annulment
Some people are concerned what happens to the paternity of their children in the event of an annulment. Depending on whether the marriage was voidable or void is the determining factor in Florida. If your marriage was voidable, then there is no concern with the legitimacy of your children as the process declares the marriage was valid until it’s annulled. In the event the marriage was void, Florida doesn’t recognize the child/children as being legitimate. This is because the marriage was never valid in the first place.
Once the annulment is granted, it’s as though the marriage never existed. This means neither party can reap any benefits a marriage would afford. This includes financial benefits like insurance or retirement accounts, and neither party will inherit anything from the other person based on previously being married.
Contact a Florida Family Law Attorney
If you need an annulment and believe you might qualify under Florida law, you need to speak with a skilled Boca Raton family law attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 and let one of our experienced attorneys discuss whether you have a valid claim for an annulment.