NYC Annulment Lawyers
Like a conventional divorce, an annulment effectively concludes a marriage. However, annulments are legal proceedings that go a step or two further by declaring the marriage void or invalid via a court order. After an annulment, it is as if the marriage never occurred. Some spouses seek an annulment to avoid the perceived stigma of divorce, but most are due to fraud and other reasons. This guide refers only to civil annulments, not religious ones, which are granted by the clergy and have no effect on legal marital status.
What Constitutes Grounds for an Annulment in NYC?
In New York City, the courts recognize five different grounds for annulment. Unlike divorces, which may be based on irreconcilable differences, to get an annulment, one of the below grounds must be proven. These include:
- Either or both spouses being under the age of 18 at the time the marriage occurred
- Either or both spouses’ inability to consent to the marriage due to a mental impairment
- Either spouse’s inability to consummate the marriage with sexual intercourse
- A spouse’s incurable mental illness of five years or more
- Marriage consent obtained through fraud, coercion, or duress
Our legal team can help spouses find and prove these grounds for annulment; call today for details.
What Happens if an Underage Spouse Attains the Age of Majority?
While either spouse being underage at the beginning of the marriage is a reason for annulment, if the couple continues to live together after both have reached the age of 18, such claims are waived.
What Will Happen if a Mentally Impaired Spouse Has a Lucid Interval?
Marriages may be annulled on the grounds of incurable mental deficiency. However, if the spouse with the illness goes through a period of non-impairment and the couple continues to freely cohabitate, the marriage is considered to be ratified and the grounds of mental deficiency are waived even if the illness returns in the future.
May Fraud be Waived as Grounds For an Annulment?
Although fraud is a legitimate reason for an annulment, it may be waived if the spouses continue to cohabitate after the fraud is discovered. Specifically, in cases where fraud would be sufficient grounds for annulment, if the wronged spouse uncovers the fraud and does not depart immediately, the grounds may be waived and the marriage is ratified. Fraud can also be waived via acquiescence, such as in cases where a spouse reneges on a promise to bear children and the wronged spouse is aware of the offending spouse’s contraceptive use.
Is Duress Waivable?
Yes, it is. New York’s laws do not allow marriages to be annulled on the grounds of duress or force if, before the marriage occurred, the spouses lived together and held themselves to be husband and wife.
How Can a Spouse Get an Annulment in New York City?
Annulments in NYC require a trial and a hearing before a family court judge. Unlike divorces, which may be granted on sworn or written testimony with no trial, annulments require at least one person to prove grounds in court. This requires the filing of paperwork and the submission of supporting evidence including documentation and witness testimony. For additional information on the procedures required to gain an annulment and what should be expected at the court hearing, please contact a New York City family lawyer for help.
The Effects of Annulments on Child Support and Custody
In the state of New York, although an annulment results in the voiding of a marriage, it has no effect on the legitimacy of children born within. Simply put, a child born while his or her parents are married in a religious or state ceremony is legitimate even if the marriage is later voided by a judge. Furthermore, an annulment has no effect on child support or custody; rather, it establishes the presumption of a child’s paternity.
Marriages are usually started with the best of intentions, but when those intentions waver soon after, an annulment may be a viable option. For more information on New York City’s laws on annulment, contact a local family lawyer as soon as possible.