Marriages in Jacksonville can either be terminated by dissolution (divorce) or by annulment. Annulment is the process of nullifying a marriage where the court declares that the marriage never took place. In order to annul a marriage, the person seeking the legal action must have sufficient grounds for annulment. Florida has no specific statute or rule that governs annulment; the general venue statute is followed and the action is commenced in circuit court. What follows is a list of requirements or grounds that must be presented to the court to terminate a marriage by annulment.
A common ground for annulment typically involves a situation where one party lacked the capacity to legally enter into the marriage. Common examples include: either party has a prior existing marriage, extreme intoxication, lack of the requisite mental ability, or one party was under the age of consent.
Grounds for annulment can also include situations involving fraud, duress, or coercion. A fraudulent marriage can be if one of the parties never intended to be married, the marriage was sought to deceive the other party or the marriage was for the purpose of gaining citizenship rights. A marriage based on duress or coercion includes one party being forced or threatened into the marriage.
A person whose spouse is physically and incurably impotent during the marriage has grounds for annulment, so long as they were not aware of the impotency prior to the marriage. Also, impotency should not be confused with sterility. If a marriage was never consummated, then this also constitutes grounds for annulment.
Although one party who is contesting the marriage may prove some of the above grounds, annulment may not be allowed where that party has ratified the marriage. That means if the person seeking annulment is aware of the defects but confirms the marriage; it cannot be subject to annulment. Essentially, the moving party has waived their right to contest the marriage.
Annulment can be a dififcult way to terminate your marriage. Contact a local attorney in Jacksovnille at Wood, Atter, & Wolf to discuss your family law matter.