Contact the Middlesex Divorce Lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC to Learn About Your Options
| Read Time: 3 minutes | Divorce

There are various ways to end a marriage in New Jersey. In an overwhelming percentage of cases, the couple would need to go through the full divorce process. Even if they were only married for a brief period of time, they would still need to obtain a divorce under New Jersey law. There are certain interim steps that may be taken between the decision to end the marriage and the divorce. Separation may be one of them. In certain uncommon factual instances, the couple may be able to annul their marriage.

What Is an Annulment?

Many people first think of annulment if they get married and realize that they made a mistake. Unfortunately, annulment does not exist to erase some mistakes in deciding to get married. There are very specific legal reasons why a court would grant an annulment.

An annulment makes it as if the marriage never happened in the first place. There is no divorce process necessary because there has never been a marriage. There must be extreme factual circumstances that would allow for an annulment. You would need to prove that these facts are present for a court to grant an annulment. These circumstances are very rare.

Here are some reasons why a court would allow you to annul a marriage:

  • One spouse did not have the mental capacity to get married.
  • One or both spouses were underage at the time of the marriage.
  • One spouse committed fraud, and the other spouse relied on it in their decision to get married.
  • One was forced or coerced into entering the marriage.
  • One spouse lied or did not disclose to the other the fact they were impotent.

Again, the legal effect of an annulment is that there was never any marriage because both spouses did not get to make a decision of their own free will. If an annulment is granted, each spouse would go on their way, and there would not need to be any property division. It is not always easy to meet the burden of proof necessary for the court to grant the annulment.

What Is Separation?

A separation happens after there has been a valid and legal marriage. The two spouses are considering ending their marriage, and they are now deciding to live apart. Separation may be an interim step on the way to divorce, or it may be an opportunity for the spouses to take time living apart to see if they want to make it permanent.

If the spouses are getting separated, there are legal arrangements that may need to be made in the interim. For example, if there are children involved in the marriage, the spouses may need to agree on interim custody and child support until a divorce can be finalized.

So long as the spouses are separated, they are still legally married. Unless they have a separation agreement, any assets that they accumulate during the time of separation would be considered marital assets.

A couple could eventually get divorced on the basis that they have been separated for at least 18 months. This is a no-fault ground of divorce that is based solely on the fact that the couple is no longer living under the same roof. Here, separation means that the couple has been living separate and apart. At that point, one spouse can file for divorce. If there is a separation agreement in place, the judge could review it and grant the divorce. If not, the two parties would need to negotiate an agreement or go through the contested divorce process.

Contact the Middlesex Divorce Lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC to Learn About Your Options

For advice on the legal process involved in ending your marriage, reach out to the Middlesex divorce lawyers at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC. We can help you plan and formulate a strategy to put you in a better legal position. The first step is to speak to one of our attorneys during a free initial consultation. To speak with a lawyer, you can call us today at 732-494-6099 or fill out our online contact form. Our office is in Metuchen, New Jersey, and we serve clients in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Somerset County, New Jersey.

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