Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers | July 7, 2022 | New Jersey Law
An annulment is a legal process of voiding a marriage. Instead of ending a marriage through the legal process of a divorce or dissolution, an annulment declares the marriage null and void. Each state has different laws specifying when a marriage qualifies for an annulment.
Qualifications for Marriage Annulment in New Jersey
Just as there are grounds for a divorce, there are grounds for an annulment. You can only annul your marriage in New Jersey under the following circumstances:
Bigamy of Polygamy
You cannot be married to more than one spouse at a time. Therefore, if your spouse was legally married when they married you, you can ask the court to annul your marriage. However, you must have been unaware of your spouse’s other marriage.
Marriage is a legal relationship. Therefore, you must have the mental capacity to understand that you are getting married.
Therefore, if one or both of you were intoxicated or otherwise incapacitated when you became married, you could petition the court for an annulment. Likewise, if a person with a mental impairment gets married, there could be grounds for annulling the marriage if they did not understand they were getting married.
You must enter a marriage of your own free will. Being forced, coerced, or threatened to enter marriage can be grounds for an annulment.
If a person is under the age of 18 years old, they do not have the legal right to consent to marriage if New Jersey. Therefore, the marriage is subject to annulment if they do not have parental consent.
However, if the underage person ratifies the marriage when they turn 18 years old, the marriage does not qualify for an annulment. After that, they must file a divorce action to end the marriage.
Marriage between blood relatives is not permitted under New Jersey law. If you marry your relative, the marriage can be annulled.
Misrepresentation by one or both parties can be grounds for an annulment. Examples of fraud that could justify an annulment include:
- A person lies about their immigrant status and marries the person as a means of remaining in the United States
- A woman fails to disclose she is pregnant by another man before she marries
- A person lies about their desire or lack of desire to have children
- An individual lies about their addiction to alcohol or drugs
- A person lies about their religious beliefs to convince a person to marry them
Fraud can be any material misrepresentation that affects the decision to marry someone or the marriage.
Suppose a person knows they are impotent but fails to disclose that information to the other. Then, it would be grounds for the marriage to be annulled under New Jersey law.
Should I Petition for an Annulment or a Divorce in New Jersey?
Annulments are generally used to end short-term marriages under the above circumstances. However, there is no time limit on annulments in New Jersey.
Divorce in New Jersey is referred to as dissolution. There are several grounds for divorce in New Jersey, including separation, adultery, and incarceration. State law also permits spouses to file for divorce using the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences.
Because you could obtain a divorce without proving fault, there could be reasons why you would want to petition for divorce instead of annulling a marriage.
When you annul a marriage, the marriage never existed, legally speaking. Therefore, there is no marital property or obligation to support a spouse. An annulment could significantly impact your rights to property settlement and spousal support.
However, if the parties have children, the court has jurisdiction regarding child custody and child support. The court awards custody based on the child’s best interest, as it does in a divorce action. Child support is based on the child support guidelines.
If you petition for an annulment, you have the burden of proving one of the legal grounds for annulment in New Jersey. However, if you petition for dissolution under irreconcilable differences, you do not need to prove grounds for the divorce.
Before filing for an annulment, it is wise to discuss your legal options and rights with a Bergen County annulment attorney. Understanding the consequences of an annulment is essential before choosing which option to end your marriage is the best option for your situation and future.
Why Would Someone Choose an Annulment Over a Divorce?
An annulment could be less costly and time-consuming than a divorce. Sometimes, a person prefers to pursue an annulment because it completely voids the marriage instead of the person being divorced.
In some cases, a person may also pursue a religious annulment of marriage. It could be important because of their religious beliefs.
However, a religious annulment has no legal impact on a marriage. Therefore, if the person wants to end the marriage legally, they must pursue a divorce or legal annulment through the court.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.