Most couples who want to end a marriage in California file for divorce. However, there are circumstances that allow a couple to have their marriage “voided” rather than “dissolved.” When a marriage is voided, it restores the couple to the status of unmarried people. In a divorce, the couple will always be presumed to have been married to each other during the period of the marriage.
Unlike divorce, which can be obtained regardless of the reason, voiding a marriage may only be obtained based on certain grounds. It is void in cases of incest and bigamy. It is voidable in cases of minority, unsound mind, fraud, force, or physical incapacity.
Certain situations do not necessarily make a marriage void but may make it voidable at a party’s request. One such circumstance is when the petitioner is under 18 years of age when married and the parents did not provide their consent. Fraud is another ground for voiding a marriage, where the false representation or concealment must relate to a substantive matter and directly effect the reason for entering the marriage.
Before deciding whether a divorce is the appropriate avenue to end your marriage, parties should consider if an annulment is an alternative that serves the best interest of the parties involved. At the Law Office of Richard E. Bawden and Robert A. Kochis, we can discuss your options with you so that you can decide if an annulment is the best choice.