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Annulment in Florida: How it works
The annulment from marriage in Florida is somewhat unique in the states, in that annulment is not necessarily codified (specific laws on the books) in state law. Rather, circuit courts rely on precedent created by appellate courts that have issued rulings in such cases. You must have grounds and be able to provide evidence to the court that certain conditions exist or existed to be eligible for an annulment. Florida code lists grounds for annulment as:
- misrepresentation or fraud – one of the spouses used misrepresentations to conceal information or to trick the other into marriage. Misrepresentations need to be material to the marriage, meaning not all deceptions rise to the level needed to annul a marriage.
- mental incapacity – one spouse was unable to give proper consent to marriage due to a serious mental condition or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- marriage as a joke or prank – these marriages can be annulled.
- bigamous – one of the spouses is legally married to more than one person.
- consanguinity – marrying a close blood relative
- a significant misunderstanding
- duress – if it was used to get consent from the other partner
An annulment in this State is permitted only when the marriage was void or voidable at the outset of the marriage. Void is a marriage that was illegal from the beginning. Voidable are marriages that are not necessarily void at its beginning, but are voidable due to circumstances. The following would be acceptable grounds to file:
- one of you is impotent and the other spouse did not know it at the time of the marriage
- one or both lacked the ability to consent to marriage because at the time of the ceremony, one spouse was suffering from a serious but temporary mental problem or was under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or drugs
- one of you used fraudulent acts or misrepresentations to con the other into marriage, or the marriage was entered into as a prank
- under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the ceremony
- one or both of you entered into the marriage under duress or extreme coertion
- one of you was under age at the time of the marriage (legal age to wed is age 18, Ages 16 and 17 must get parental consent) close-in-age exemptions exist: see Title XLVI Chapter 794
- one of you is legally married to more than one person
- one of you lacked the mental ability to consent to the marriage
- The marriage consists of same-sex partners
- consanguinity – you entered into an incestuous marriage – brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece. 1st cousins are permitted
Florida courts will not grant an annulment if a partner learns of a situation that would qualify for annulment (such as when one partner is defrauded into marrying the other), and after learning about being defrauded, then had consensual sexual intercourse with that spouse. Having sex after your discovery of information that would void your marriage is considered approval and forgiveness of the wrong, and generally does not allow you grounds to annul your marriage. Courts will examine where the parties lived after one learned of the fraud, and if they cohabited after that, getting an annulment could be a problem. You may petition for an annulment at any time, but the longer you wait from the time you became aware of the situation, the more difficult the annulment process can be.
Catholic – Catholics will seek a religious annulment so that they may marry again, and be able to participate in all religious activities and sacraments. Without one, Catholics are treated as less than full members of their religious community.
Jewish – Called a Get, this religious procedure departs from Catholic teachings, in that the marriage is not treated as if it never occurred. The Get reconciles the divorce with the Jewish religion.
Hindu – This version of annulment is relatively uncommon, but when it is used, it too renders the marriage null. It is used most notably when a marriage has not been consummated within the first two months of marriage.
See our discussion on Annulments
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