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What is an annulment and what are its effects?

We've spent a lot of time on this blog discussing various divorce legal issues. These matters can be difficult to deal with, and the ramifications of their outcomes can be far-reaching. Oftentimes, those who are subjected to adverse divorce judgments can suffer emotional and financial losses, both of which can be difficult to overcome post-divorce. For some Californians, though, avoiding having to deal with these matters may be a possibility.

The most effective way to do this is to seek an annulment. An annulment is a legal order that declares that what was once considered a legal marriage is in fact invalid. When an annulment occurs, it is as if the marriage never occurred in the first place. In order to obtain an annulment, though, one of a number of circumstances must be shown. Amongst the most obvious are marriages that result in incest or bigamy. These marriages are never considered legal.

However, there are other circumstances under which a court may deem a marriage invalid. For example, an individual who was under the age of 18 at the time of marriage may be able to seek annulment. An annulment can also be sought if either party to the marriage in question was incapable of understanding the meaning of and responsibilities of marriage. Those who are forced into marriage, as well as those who enter into a marriage due to a fraudulent misrepresentation about a material fact, may also be able to annul their marriage.

An annulment can have serious legal consequences. Some may be welcomed, such as alleviating one's responsibility for alimony and property division, but other ramifications may be unwanted, such as cutting off the presumption that the marred man is a child's father. With so much hanging in the balance in these situations, it is often best to discuss these types of scenarios with a skilled family law attorney.

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