Similar to divorce, an annulment ends a marriage. However, unlike a divorce, an annulment actually reverses the marriage as if it never even existed. An individual may generally choose to seek an annulment instead of a divorce for one of several personal reasons. Nonetheless, you and your spouse may be asking yourselves whether you, in fact, qualify for an annulment in New Jersey. If you are, please read on, then contact an experienced Hackensack, New Jersey divorce lawyer today.
Why should one seek an annulment?
As alluded to above, individuals may seek to annul their marriage for one of several reasons, including the following:
- Social: An annulled marriage does not carry with it the social stigma of divorce
- Financial: Courts tend not to award alimony in annulments
- Religious: Some religions disapprove of divorce, but are more accepting of annulments
Even though many couples will undoubtedly seek an annulment, state courts will only grant one if your case meets one of a few circumstances.
Under what circumstances can you get an annulment in New Jersey?
In general, your case must involve some type of fraud or material misrepresentation of the “essentials of the marriage” relationship. In other words, you must have grounds, such as the following:
- Bigamy: You or your spouse has another living spouse at the time of your marriage, which you only discovered later.
- Duress: A threat of serious violence caused you to become married, making you eligible for an annulment.
- Nonage: No person under the age of eighteen has the legal right to consent to marriage and may annul their marriage at any time.
- Incapacity: If one spouse lacked the mental capacity or did not exercise informed consent, i.e. when heavily intoxicated, the couple can seek to annul the marriage.
- Impotence: If one spouse was impotent at the time of marriage and the other spouse did not know this, the couple may obtain an annulment.
- Incest: The state of New Jersey prohibits all forms of incest, including marriage between blood relatives, making the couple eligible for an annulment.
- Fraud: Courts consider any misrepresentation that affects the marriage as fraud, including one spouse:
- Lying about their desire or lack thereof to have children
- Lying about their addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Being an immigrant and using the other spouse to stay in the country
- Misrepresenting their religious beliefs to influence the other spouse’s decision to get married
- Failing to advise her spouse at the time of their marriage that she is pregnant by another man
Courts rarely grant annulments, which is why you should speak with a skilled New Jersey divorce lawyer soon.
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