Not long after getting married, you may have realized things do not seem right. You may be under the impression that you can undo what you believe to be a mistake through the annulment process. That is not true. Annulment has a very specific legal meaning and is reserved for rare circumstances. A divorce lawyer can help determine whether you may seek an annulment. Here are some reasons why you may qualify for an annulment.
Fraud is perhaps the most common reason why spouses may seek an annulment. However, fraud may not mean what you think. Even if one spouse lied in many respects, it may not be enough to annul the marriage. In many cases, one spouse has fraudulently induced the other to marry them, lying about things like their wealth or their desire to have children.
The other spouse may have also hidden essential facts from the other when they married. For example, one may have hidden the fact that they have a criminal record or were not a United States citizen. These are essential and material facts that could influence a decision about marrying someone else.
Duress is also another common reason for annulment. With duress, one spouse places another under pressure to marry them. Here, the duress could be extreme emotional pressure, or even physical violence. One spouse may have threatened or tried to blackmail the other to coerce them into marriage. When one decides to marry under duress, they have not decided their own free will.
Other Reasons to Seek an Annulment
Other grounds to annul your marriage include:
- Bigamy: One party was already married at the time of the marriage, meaning there was no way a second marriage could be legally valid.
- Consanguinity: The two spouses could not get married by a close familial relationship, such as being siblings.
- Below the legal age: In New Jersey, the legal age for a valid marriage is 18
- Mental incapacity: Like any other legal agreement, one must have the mental capacity to enter a marriage. One needs to be of sound mind and understand that they are getting married and the ramifications of it.
Without an Annulment, You Must File for Divorce
If your marriage does not fall into one of the above categories, you would need to file for a divorce. It does not matter that you were only married for several weeks before you both realized you made a mistake. New Jersey law is very strict about what marriages may be annulled.
In nearly every case, you must go through the divorce process before your marriage can legally end. The divorce may take several months to be finalized, even when you were not married. The duration of the marriage would be a factor in any decisions relating to equitable distribution or spousal support. Nonetheless, there would still need to be a court order that formally ends the marriage.
Contact a Middlesex County Divorce Lawyer at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC if You Have Questions About Annulment
A Middlesex County divorce lawyer at Wiley Lavender Maknoor, PC can advise you whether you may qualify for an annulment or whether you need to go through the divorce process. Call 732-494-6099 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Metuchen, New Jersey, we serve clients in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Somerset County.