Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
Seeking an annulment in Florida requires your facts to match those prongs necessary in Florida annulment law, based on cases and not Statute. Annulments are difficult to get due to the fact that they dissolve the marriage as if it never occurred. Florida annulments require proving that the marriage was void due to certain circumstances such as bigamy or is voidable, for example that the marriage was entered into based on the fraud of another.
A marriage that is void can occur if one of the parties was married before and the divorce of those parties was never finalized. If the spouse then marries another, then that the new marriage is void and the parties were never legally married. No matter if the parties agree that the marriage is valid, in the eyes of the law there was never a marriage because bigamy is not a legal action. If this occurs, then the first marriage must be ended by a legal divorce and once finalized the new marriage can be conducted legally, but must be done again with a new marriage license.
A voidable marriage can occur under issues of fraud that were present prior to the marriage. For example, if one party tells the other that she or he has never been in prison for a violent crime and marries under that presumption, then later is exposed as a violent criminal. Once married, if the non-offending party learns the other spouse’s true identity, then she or he could file for annulment if and only if the marriage was not consummated after learning of that spouse’s true identity. Consummating the marriage after learning of the fraud reestablishes the marriage under the new facts and an annulment is not possible.
If you think you qualify for an annulment, you should get the assistance of a family law attorney to assist you since so much of the annulment law is based on cases and not statute. The process is different than filing for divorce so understanding your rights and options is important.