March 26, 2021
Marriages are often one of the happiest moments in a couple’s life, as they seal their love and commitment to each other. But did you know that around 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce or separation? And while most people have a good understanding of how divorces work, the same can’t be said for annulments.
To clear things up, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about how annulments work in Florida!
What is an Annulment?
An annulment is an oft-misunderstood legal concept due to the fact that there are religious and civil annulments. Like divorces, annulments affect a person’s marital status. However, one key difference here is that annulments declare that the marriage never existed in the first place. This is different from divorce, as divorce only ends an already existing marriage.
Grounds of an Annulment in Florida
Now, the grounds for annulment in Florida can be tricky, considering that Florida statutory law doesn’t really address annulments. However, the state’s appellate courts have issued binding decisions over the years that can be used as a precedent for future cases.
With that being said, grounds for annulment in Florida aren’t that different from the rest of the country. These are divided into two types: void and voidable. Marriages that are considered void are marriages that should have never been considered valid in the first place. On the other hand, voidable marriages are marriages that became invalid over time.
A Marriage May Be Void If:
- A spouse is legally married to more than one person.
- It involves people who are closely related by blood.
- It involves two underage individuals.
- One spouse is permanently mentally incapacitated to the point that they are unable to consent to the marriage.
A Marriage May Be Voidable If:
- One spouse wasn’t able to fully consent to the marriage due to a temporary mental problem. This also may apply if one spouse was so much under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the ceremony that he or she was mentally incompetent.
- One spouse willfully misled their spouse via fraudulent acts or misrepresentation to trick the other spouse into entering a marriage.
- One or both spouses only entered into marriage because they were forced or coerced to do so.
- One spouse is underage and lacks the consent of a parent or guardian.
- One or both spouses entered into the marriage as a joke or prank.
How to Get an Annulment in Florida
You may be able to file for an annulment in Florida, but you will have to convince the Court the marriage void or voidable. From there, you will have to follow Florida’s family law rules of procedure.
Effects of an Annulment
Annulments essentially function the same way as divorces, but one key difference would be for marriages that have been considered void. If a marriage is considered void, the children conceived under the void marriage are not considered legitimate under Florida law. It’s also important to note that the circuit court will still need to decide regarding child custody and support regardless of whether a marriage is void or voidable.
Permanent alimony is also not ordinarily granted in annulment cases. However, this may change if one spouse is considered to be a victim of the other spouse’s wrongdoing. This may apply when one spouse deceives the other into entering a void or voidable marriage.
We hope this article has shed some light on any misconceptions that you may have had about annulments. If there are still things that are unclear, it would be best to consult with legal professionals. With expert help, you will be able to know more about the process and go through it smoothly!
If you’re looking to explore other means of separation, The Dorsey Law Firm has the best divorce lawyers in Jacksonville. We have over 35 years of experience in providing clients from all over Florida with legal services. Get in touch with us today to set up your in-person appointment!