Annulments and divorces are very similar as they are both used to end a marriage. In a divorce, the cause of the end of the marriage occurs during the marriage. On the contrary, when a marriage is annulled, the cause for the end of the marriage exists before or at the time of the marriage. In an annulment, the couple treats the marriage as though it never happened. It is usually retroactive, meaning an annulled marriage is considered as null and void. If you and your spouse want to annul your marriage in New Jersey, you must fill out and file a Complaint for Annulment.
Why Do People Decide on Annulment vs. Divorce?
The majority of the time, when people prefer an annulment over a divorce, it’s to avoid stigma. Some people think that being divorced is a marker for a failed relationship and an indication they might be less “datable.” To them, it carries a stigma. In other cases, an annulment is just easier than going through divorce proceedings. Also, there are times people prefer an annulment for religious reasons.
How Does It Work?
Before you can submit the Complaint for Annulment, you must first determine whether or not you have grounds for an annulment.
In New Jersey, you can file for an annulment if:
- Either spouse was under 18 at the time of the marriage, and since turning 18, both spouses have refrained from having sexual relations
- One or both spouses was unable to comprehend they were marrying because of a mental condition or intoxication
- Lies or fraud induced one party into the marriage
- One or both spouses has incurable impotence
- The marriage was illegal because of too-close relation
You and your spouse must also be a resident of New Jersey at the time you file. Both of you will have to provide information about yourself, your spouse, your children, your marriage, and the grounds for the annulment. If you are filing alone, you will then have to serve your spouse with the petition, which means it must be delivered by hand by another adult.
If your spouse agrees to the annulment, and the Court finds that you have grounds for an annulment, you can go without a hearing and the Judge will enter the decree of annulment. If your partner doesn’t agree, the Judge will hold a hearing, during which you and your spouse will have to testify and present evidence. A Judge who decides to annul your marriage will grant a Judgement of Annulment, after which your marriage is immediately considered void.
Child custody works much the same as it does during a divorce. Your children are still considered “legitimate,” which means the father continues to be the father unless it’s proven otherwise through genetic testing. In the annulment proceeding, the judge makes decisions about child custody and child support.
Why Hire an East Brunswick Annulment Lawyer?
Although you may not need to go through lengthy court procedures, having a lawyer on your case can help you stay on top of your paperwork. If you need to argue your case before a Judge, an excellent East Brunswick annulment attorney can help present your case.
If you have questions about the annulment process in New Jersey, call us for your free case consultation today.