What's the Difference Between Annulment and Divorce?
An annulment is quite different from divorce; although both proceedings involve a change in marital status, annulments are legal proceedings that nullify a marriage that was never actually valid, whereas divorce terminates a valid marriage.
What Are the Grounds for an Annulment in Florida?
To qualify for an annulment in Florida, a couple needs to meet certain specific requirements. While there is not actually a law on the books in Florida regarding when a marriage can be annulled, Florida courts have established a number of grounds for when a couple may annul their marriage. Because this process is a legal way of stating that the marriage was not actually ever valid when entered into, the couple must show more than simply that they do not wish to be married any more. For instance, a marriage can be annulled if a spouse demonstrates that the other one was already married at the time of their marriage. The reason this would annul their marriage is because bigamy is illegal in Florida and therefore no married person is legally able to marry another.
Another way a marriage could be annulled is if a couple can show that one or both of them lacked the capacity to offer consent at the time of the marriage. For example, a person who was drunk at the time of a wedding was not able to legally provide consent to the marriage.
If a party can demonstrate that the other used fraud or trickery to obtain his or her consent, that marriage may also be annulled. This is perhaps the least clear of the annulment grounds, as not all types of misrepresentations qualify. For example, a party cannot simply state that the marriage is voidable because he or she thought the other party was nicer or likely to make more money. However, if a party can show that the other hid a serious fact, such as a deadly disease, that marriage might be voidable.
Annulments are only granted under limited circumstances. To learn more about this issue, contact the skilled Florida divorce attorneys at the Law Office of K. Dean Kantaras.