An annulment and divorce both allow you to end a marriage, but there are many differences between the two. A civil annulment nullifies the marriage, essentially treating it as if it never existed. In New Jersey, an annulment occurs when a marriage is void or voidable from the beginning due to some type of fraud or misrepresentation. There are many reasons an individual may seek an annulment as opposed to a divorce, including social stigmas, religious beliefs, and financial reasons. An annulment can be difficult to obtain and is only granted under one of the specified limited circumstances, outlined below:
- Bigamy or polygamy, meaning that you or your spouse were married to someone else or had a domestic partner at the time of the marriage.
- You and your spouse are too closely related.
- Either one or both parties lacked the capacity to get married because of a mental condition or the influence of intoxicants (alcohol or drugs).
- One of the parties has incurable impotence that they did not disclose to the other party before the marriage.
- You or your spouse were under the age of 18 when you married and have not confirmed the civil union since turning 18.
- Duress, meaning that one of the parties only agreed to get married due to serious threats.
- Any misrepresentation or fraud that affects the marriage.
To obtain an annulment in New Jersey, you must prove at least one of the grounds for annulment to the court. To do this, you must fill out a form called a “Complaint for Annulment” in which you will provide information about yourself, your spouse, your children (if applicable), your marriage, and the grounds for an annulment. Once filed, your spouse will be served with the petition. Then, your spouse can agree to the annulment, in which case the judge will enter a decree of annulment without a hearing. If your spouse does not agree to the annulment, a hearing will be held where both parties can testify and present evidence. The judge will make the final determination about whether to annul the marriage.
At Bozanian McGregor, our Bergen County family law attorneys have a deep understanding of the intricacies of the New Jersey family courts and annulment process. Whether you are seeking a divorce or an annulment in the state of New Jersey, our expert attorneys can help guide you through the process. Contact us today at (201) 897-3561.