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New York Annulment Lawyer

If you feel like your marriage is not valid, or that you got into a marriage for all the wrong reasons, one of the legal options you can pursue is annulment. While divorce proceedings are meant to end a legitimate marriage, an annulment is meant to declare the illegitimacy of a marriage. In essence, when an annulment is enforced, it is as though there had been no marriage at all.

What is An Annulment?

It is a declaration that a marriage is null and void. The word void is a legal concept that means invalid or illegal. During an annulment, a court hearing is held in which case the party seeking an annulment is the petitioner while the other party is called the respondent or defendant.

While in a divorce you may be entitled to certain privileges such as alimony and a share of the marital property, an annulment does not give you these rights because it aims at declaring that the marriage never existed.

What are the Grounds For an Annulment?

The following are some of the common grounds under which a marriage can be annulled:

  • Below the age of consent: If a person below 18 years wants to get married, they need to receive a written consent from their parents. If a person below 16 years wants to get married, they need to get approval from the court. If these conditions were not met, the marriage can be annulled.
  • Mentally incapacitated: If a person is mentally incapacitated when entering into a marriage contract, the marriage can be annulled.
  • Inability to consummate the marriage: If a person is unable to engage in sexual intercourse, a fact that was not revealed at the time of the marriage, the marriage can be annulled.
  • Fraud, force or duress used to obtain consent for the marriage: If a person entered into a marriage contract due to fraud, force, or pressure, the marriage can be annulled.
  • Incurable mental illness: If a person is suffering from an incurable mental illness or a condition that continues for five years without getting better, the marriage can be annulled.

How Can You Secure an Annulment?

An annulment is granted after a hearing and trial before a judge. The petitioner needs to prove at least one of the grounds for seeking an annulment. The petitioner is required to file some paper work in court and present documents and witnesses to support their claim. After the hearing, the court will decide whether to grant an order for an annulment based on the strength of the petitioner’s evidence.

What Are the Effects of An Annulment on Child Custody and Support?

Even though an annulment renders a marriage null and void, it has no effect on the legitimacy of children born during the marriage. Children born while their parents are married are deemed to be legitimate even when the marriage is annulled later on. Therefore, an annulment does not affect child support or custody.

The Take Away

If you believe that your marriage is unlawful, the legal remedy to this problem is an annulment. After an annulment of your marriage, you are considered to have never been married. While a divorce may entitle you to receive spousal support and a share of marital property, these privileges are not afforded in an annulment unless under special circumstances. Furthermore, an annulment does not affect the legitimacy of children, it presumes paternity exists. Before you seek an annulment, it would be in your best interest to consult a New York annulment lawyer to help you with the legal processes and to also advice you on the best way to approach your situation.