Dispelling Three Myths About Florida Marriage Annulment
When it comes to marriage and divorce, there are many myths and misconceptions, especially on the internet. One of the biggest areas of confusion is marriage annulment. Myths abound regarding when, how, and why a person may annul his or her marriage. Here, we will look at three of the most common myths and explain what annulment is and is not.
MYTH #1: I can get my marriage annulled within the first year of marriage without going through a full divorce.
If only this were the case, we might hear a united sigh of relief from many. Unfortunately, the law does not have any such wiggle room. Once you get married, you are married. In Florida, even if you are only married for 24 hours, you will likely still be required to file for divorce. Although Florida does not attract as many impulsive would-be couples seeking immediate marital bliss as other tourist destinations, it is one of the most popular destinations in the country for weddings. It stands to reason, therefore, that plenty of people find themselves hoping for a quick solution. Ultimately, however, annulment has nothing to do with the duration of the marriage.
MYTH #2: Annulment is a religious matter that was only used in the old days, but it no longer exists.
This is absolutely incorrect. Annulment is alive and well and has a very real purpose in the law. While some religions do have their own principles of annulment, used to nullify the validity of a marriage, these are separate and apart from the secular laws of the states where the marriages are created. For instance, Catholics believe that once someone is married, the marriage is for life. Therefore, even if a couple divorces, the church may not recognize this. As such, a person wishing to remarry may need to have the church nullify the former marriage before being allowed to remarry. This is merely a matter of church policy, so it does not prevent a person from receiving a valid marriage license from the state.
MYTH #3: As long as we don’t sleep together, the marriage can be annulled.
This one is partly true, but it does not tell the whole story. If two people decide to get married and the marriage is valid in all ways according to the law, then consummation does not really matter. This concept applies when there is some form of fraud. In some rare cases, two people may enter into a marriage that is fraudulent. Annulment may be possible if the parties have not ratified it through sexual relations. This situation is exceedingly rare.
What Are The Real Grounds For Annulment In Florida?
Annulment is, simply put, a way to terminate a marriage by affirming that a valid marriage never really took place. Therefore, if any of the formalities of a legal marriage are missing, there may be grounds for annulment. Likewise there are several specific examples that would qualify:
- Bigamy: Under FLA STAT. 826.01, bigamy is not permitted. If one person is still legally married to someone else, the subsequent marriage is invalid and may be annulled.
- Incest: Under FLA STAT. 741.21, people may not marry close relatives. If such occurs, then the marriage is void from its inception.
- Fraud: If trickery or deceit is used to marry someone, this is considered a void marriage.
- Age and consent: If one party to a marriage is under the legal age of consent or lacks the mental ability to consent, such as mental illness, dementia, or intoxication, then the marriage is considered void from the beginning.
These are some of the major reasons that people may be allowed to annul a marriage. Annulment is not an easy alternative to divorce, but rather, it is a judicial proceeding that requires demonstrating to a judge that the marriage was entered into under either false pretenses or was somehow invalid from the start. If, on the other hand, it was valid but the parties have been married a short time or have not yet consummated it, a judge is unlikely going to allow annulment. In most cases, a divorce will be required. Experienced Florida divorce attorney Goodblatt · Leo can review the unique facts of your marriage to determine which options are best for you.