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An annulment is a court decision rendering a marriage legally invalid. Rather than dissolving a marriage, as through a divorce, an annulment declares that the marriage was never legal in the first place.
In general, Florida courts will only annul a marriage if one of the following can be proven in court:
- One or both spouses were not mentally or physically capable of entering into the marriage
- One or both spouses were already married to someone when they started the new marriage
- One or both spouses were younger than the legal marital age
- Spouses are related by blood or marriage
- One spouse was forcibly coerced into the marriage
Florida courts may issue annulment orders for other reasons (fraud, impotence, etc.), but these situations are rare and will depend on the specific facts of the case. Furthermore, it will be especially difficult for someone to obtain an annulment order if they allowed the marriage to continue despite learning information that was withheld when the marriage originally began.
Call (407) 794-9004 or use our contact form to request a free consultation with our annulment attorneys in Orlando.
The Annulment Process in Orange County, Florida
To pursue an annulment in Florida, one party must file a petition with the court. The petition must include specific details about the grounds for the annulment and evidence to support those claims. After filing the petition, both parties will be asked to appear in court for a hearing. At this hearing, both sides present their arguments and evidence. The judge will then make a ruling on whether the marriage can be legally invalidated. If so, the judge declares that the marriage is void.
To put it simply, an annulment is not the same as a divorce. Whereas an annulment legally establishes that a marriage was never valid, a divorce can dissolve only a legitimate marriage. Because of this fact, there are also differences between the legal process for acquiring an annulment and the one for pursuing a divorce. For example, if a marriage has been annulled, it is unlikely that a court will allow couples to litigate spousal alimony as part of their separation terms. Alimony can only be pursued by individuals who were in valid marriages. The same goes for property distribution. When a marriage is annulled, the court assumes that the couple was never given the opportunity to acquire marital property. Typically, this means that each party will retain any property they brought into the marriage. This can be significantly more complicated in situations where former couples had acquired property together; however, these issues will be decided based on the relevant real estate, business, or other non-marital property laws.
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Getting an Annulment in Orange County, Osceola County, or a Surrounding Area
At The Spence Law Firm, our Orlando annulment lawyers advise clients on the legal process and represent them in any hearings. We assist them with drafting and filing any paperwork, gathering necessary evidence and supporting documents, preparing them for hearings, and advocating for their interests in and out of court. Additionally, because annulments only invalidate the marriage itself, we can also help clients settle any resulting custody, child support, or property division matters.
If you are seeking a marriage annulment in or around Orlando, contact The Spence Law Firm by calling (407) 794-9004.
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