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How an Annulment May Have More Complications Than a Divorce

Divorce word and two rings
An annulment, which restores your pre-marital status, might seem like an attractive alternative to a divorce for those who want to end their marriage. However, an annulment has several complications that you should know about before you file your petition with the court. Below are some of the complications you might run into in the state of California.

No Spousal Support

A huge problem with an annulment is that it doesn't entitle you to spousal support like a divorce would. If you divorce someone and their financial status is better than yours, the court almost always orders your former spouse to give you spousal support, at least for a short time.

With an annulment, however, the rationale is that you should not receive any support from your partner because you were never married to them in the first place. Therefore, you should think carefully before you opt for an annulment if you want to enjoy spousal support after the two of you part ways.

No Property Division

You should also not expect property division with an annulment. Again, the reasoning is that the two of you were never married in the first place, so you have no marital property to divide.

The court doesn't have the authority to intervene in your property division, but the two of you are free to divide your properties as you wish. Most likely, each of you will walk out of the relationship with your separate properties. As such, you may face difficulties when you have properties that do not belong strictly to either of you.

Paternity Issues

Once a court annuls your marriage, it will be as if you were never married in the first place, at least as far as the government is concerned. As such, the paternity of your children may not be clear-cut. If you are not careful, some parties may treat your children as if they were born to a single parent.

If you don't want anyone to doubt the paternity of your children, then you first have to petition the court to establish your children's paternity. You have to do this before you can discuss visitation, custody, and child support issues.

Proof of Grounds

California, just like other states, allows both fault and no-fault divorce. As such, you can just list irreconcilable differences to get a divorce. A no-fault divorce is usually faster and cheaper than a fault divorce because you don't have to prove a divorce ground before moving forward with it.

The same thing is not possible with an annulment. Before the court can accept your annulment, you have to prove one of the annulments' grounds that the state recognizes. Examples of acceptable annulment grounds in California include forced marriage, blood relationship with your spouse, and bigamy.

Statute of Limitations

Lastly, you must file your annulment within a certain statute of limitations. If you let this period of time expire, the court will deny your petition.

Here are examples of statutes of limitations for annulment in California:
  • If you were married as a minor, you must file within four years after your 18th birthday.
  • If you want to use bigamy as your annulment ground, you must file while the other spouse is still alive.
As you can see, you have to move first if you want to annul your marriage; otherwise, the statute of limitations might expire.

An annulment is very different from a divorce. The minute you suspect that you might need an annulment, call Novack Law Offices. We will evaluate your case, advise you on the way forward, and help you deal with the above complications.


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