California Divorce Guide

Annulment in California

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A marriage annulment in California is sometimes referred to as a nullity. You will need to prove in a court hearing that your marriage satisfies one of the grounds for marital annulment listed below to be granted a marriage annulment.

These grounds must have applied at the time you and your spouse married or you and your partner registered to be eligible for an annulment:

  • Incest – (consanguinity in other states) where one marries a blood relative
  • Bigamy – knowingly marrying more than one person
  • Under age – below age 18 years at the time of marriage or registration of domestic partnership and did not obtain parental consent or a court order permitting the marriage
  • Unsound Mind – could not and has not formed the intent to marry or registered due to a mental condition
  • Fraud – deception regarding a significant matter that led to the marriage or the partnership
  • Force – threats or acts of harm were used to force one spouse or partner into the marriage or domestic partnership

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Should you file divorce papers for an annulment, and the court agrees that you have proven grounds for an annulment, a judgment of nullity will be declared, and will have the effect of declaring that no marriage had ever come into being. California Family Law places time restrictions on how long a person has to file for an annulment on certain conditions that caused the action to be filed:

  • The Party was under the age of consent (18) with no parental consent- You must file for an annulment within four years of arriving at the age of consent
  • For a parent or guardian of an underage child, an action may be brought at any time before the married minor has arrived at the age of legal consent
  • If a party was of unsound mind when getting married, an action to annul the marriage can occur at any time during the life of either party
  • In cases where fraud is alleged, an action for annulment must be brought within four years after the discovery of the facts constituting the fraud
  • If consent was obtained by force, within four years of the discovery of the facts
  • If either party was, at the time of marriage, physically incapable of entering into the marriage state, and that incapacity continues, and appears to be incurable, one has four years in which to file for annulment

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A subsequent marriage contracted by a person during the life of a former husband or wife of the person, with a person other than the former husband or wife, is illegal and void from the beginning, unless:

  • The former marriage has been dissolved or adjudged a nullity before the date of the subsequent marriage
  • The former husband or wife is absent, and not known to the person to be living for the period of five successive years immediately preceding the subsequent marriage, or (ii) is generally reputed or believed by the person to be dead at the time the subsequent marriage was contracted

The State provides a guide for those needing help filing for an annulment.

[Based on California Code Sections: 2200-2201, 2210-2212 ]

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