You may have reached a point where you would like to end your marriage, and most people do so here in the Bronx with either a contested or an uncontested divorce. But there is another option, though it can only be exercised under very limited circumstances. Contact a good Bronx annulment lawyer to explain whether or not annulment may be an option in your case, and if so, whether or not it is the best way to end your marriage. Divorce is the legal termination of a legally valid marriage. Annulment has the same effect in that it terminates your marriage, but annulment is a process where a judge finds your marriage was never valid or is no longer valid. None of these should be confused with separation, which does not end the marriage.
The reasons to get an annulment rather than a divorce are often personal ones. Those whose religions don’t allow divorce may prefer an annulment, even though a legal annulment is not the same as a religious annulment. Though divorce is very common today, there are still people who feel that annulment may carry less social stigma than divorce. You will want to speak with your annulment attorney practicing in the Bronx about any possible legal ramifications such as property division. The court must still deal with the key issues central to a divorce.Marriages Annulled Because They Are Void
Some marriages can never be legally valid. A void marriage was invalid from the beginning. The law simply does not recognize them. Examples of this would be a marriage between two close relatives such as a brother and sister. Another example would be if a person marries while they still have a living spouse. It is not legal in the United States to be married to two people at the same time. Also, if the person who performed your wedding ceremony was not authorized to do so, the marriage is void.
But even though such a marriage is not legal, you must still get an annulment, which basically proclaims that the marriage never existed. If the couple has had children, this can get somewhat complicated, and you will want to discuss your options with A Bronx lawyer experienced with annulments. Matters such as child custody, visitation and child support must still be dealt with.Marriages Annulled Because They Are Voidable
Some marriages can become void, because they are declared to be void by a court, and the marriage is annulled. These marriages are voidable. If a court does not declare them void, then they are still valid marriages. Your Bronx annulment lawyer can explain whether or not your marriage would qualify. Here are some examples of marriages that are valid if they are not annulled.
- Fraud or coercion: In New York, if people do marry with free will, a court can annul the marriage. If one of the spouses defrauded the other, perhaps lying about why they were getting married when in fact they only wanted a green card, that is grounds for annulment. Also if there was some kind of coercion that pressured a person into getting married, their attorney can file for an annulment. However, the person who was coerced has a six year statute of limitations to file for an annulment.
- Mental incapacity: A marriage can be annulled if one of the spouses did not have the mental capacity to consent when the couple were married. However, there is a six year statute of limitations on having the marriage annulled.
- Physical incapacity: A court can annul a marriage if one of the spouses is unable to have sexual intercourse. However, if the other spouse knew this before the marriage, the marriage may not be annulled. There is a five year statute of limitations to annul a marriage on this grounds.
- Incurable mental illness: If the husband or wife becomes mentally ill for five years or longer and there is no cure, your attorney can file for the marriage to be annulled.
- Age: If one of the spouses is under the age of getting married without parental approval (14 to 18), but goes ahead and does it anyway, the marriage is voidable and a court could annul it. However, if a Bronx court does not annul the marriage, it is legitimate and once both parties are beyond the age where they must seek parental approval, the marriage is no longer voidable. The couple would have to divorce if they want to terminate the marriage after both parties reach the age of consent.
Though there are similarities, annulment is different from divorce, and your attorney must present different types of evidence to the Bronx court. Be sure you get a good Bronx attorney experienced in annulment to represent you. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience successfully representing clients who are seeking a divorce, annulment or legal separation and who have other family law matters. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.