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Reasons for Marriage Annulment in Florida


If asked to name what the family courts do in Florida, the first things that come to mind are probably divorce, child custody and child support decisions, and adoption.  You probably do not think of annulment.  Today, we most often hear of marriage annulment in a religious context, such as if a church annuls a couple’s marriage after they divorced in a civil court.  Beyond that, marriage annulment most often occurs as a plot point in a historical drama.  For example, in the nineteenth century, the painter John Ruskin was married to Effie Gray for six years, but the marriage was annulled at her request because it was never consummated.  Likewise, the Catholic Church’s refusal to annul King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon was a major factor in the Protestant Reformation in England.  Florida’s marriage annulment laws have nothing to do with religion or sexuality, but Florida does have its own criteria for determining whether a marriage is legally valid.  If you are trying to annul your marriage, contact a South Florida family law attorney.

When Your Spouse Is Already Married to Someone Else

In the United States, you can only be legally married to one person at a time.  If your spouse is still legally married to someone else, it is not possible for them to marry you.  If they manage to conceal this still-ongoing marriage from the court when you apply for a marriage license, the court will annul your marriage when they discover that your spouse is still legally married to someone else.

A famous case of a bigamy-based annulment was the marriage of Alan and Lolita Grayson.  When they married in 1986, she told him that she and her first husband had divorced.  On her 1990 application for U.S. citizenship, she listed her marital status as “separated,” but this did not raise red flags for Alan.  They had five children together and then filed for divorce in 2015, after Alan Grayson had represented Florida in the U.S. House of Representatives.  During their divorce case, it came to light that Lolita had still been legally married to her first husband when she married Alan.  Therefore, the judge annulled Alan and Lolita Grayson’s marriage instead of granting their divorce.  Thus, it treated them as if they had never been legally married.  The court still required them to share parenting time, decision-making, and financial responsibility for their four youngest children (the oldest was an adult when their marriage ended), just as it would for any never-married exes who had children together.  Because the court considered Lolita never to have been legally married to Alan, she was not entitled to any alimony, whereas some former spouses can get permanent alimony after such a long marriage.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

If your spouse never divorced your ex, or if they defrauded you or pressured you into marrying them, you might be entitled to annul your marriage instead of going through a divorce.  Contact the Boca Raton family lawyers Schwartz | White for help today.



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