You found the love of your life. Until you realize they actually lied to you. Now the entire marriage seems fake, as false pretenses guided your decision to say, “I do.” But what options do you have to end the marriage? If this seems familiar to you, you need a family law firm with experience in annulments in Pennsylvania.
What is an annulment?
Though both end a marriage, an annulment and a divorce are different. Unlike a traditional divorce, an annulment is a legal proceeding that further declares that a marriage was invalid or void, via court order. In some cases, going through the annulment process makes it seem as though the marriage never occurred.
Some individuals may prefer an annulment for religious purposes. However, a religious annulment can only be granted by the church and has no legal merit on marital status as far as by the state’s measure.
There are reasons for a civil annulment in Pennsylvania. They are for void and voidable marriages.
A void marriage is one not recognized under Pennsylvania law. However, they can occur as a result of cohabitation and in some cases, may be made void. Common void marriages in Pennsylvania include:
- One or both spouses were under age 18.
- One spouse was unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incapacity or incompetence.
- The marriage occurred between first cousins or closer relatives.
- The marriage is bigamous or polygamous.
A voidable marriage is a bit different. Voidable marriages are those that are valid but may be declared void under some circumstances. These voidable marriages include:
- One or both spouses were under age 16.
- One or both spouses were under age 18 and the marriage ceremony was performed without parental consent.
- The marriage was entered into under the influence of liquor or drugs.
- Either spouse is physically unable to have sexual intercourse.
- Marriage consent was obtained by duress, coercion, or fraud.
It is important that once grounds for annulment are discovered, the spouse must file for an annulment. If the couple continues to live together once the issue has been discovered, the grounds for annulment may be waived.
How to File for an Annulment in Pennsylvania
If you are part of a void marriage, these are often deemed invalid immediately and may not require a court order. However, that is not the case for a voidable marriage.
An annulment in Pennsylvania must go to trial and hearing before a judge to prove the grounds of annulment. To file:
- One or both of the spouses must have resided in Pennsylvania for at least six months, and
- In certain circumstances, the action may be brought forth by parents if their child was under age 18 and their consent was not obtained for the marriage or if their child lacks mental capacity.
At least one of the grounds must be proven in court. You will need documentation and evidence, which may include a witness testimony to support your claim for annulment.
Many individuals fear to utilize an annulment instead of a divorce may impact child support and custody. However, an annulment will not.
Annulment Attorney in NEPA – Annulments in Pennsylvania
If you are seeking an annulment, you very well may be feeling an array of emotions. However, it is imperative that you work with an attorney who can guide you through the Pennsylvania annulment process to ensure your needs are met. If you need an attorney for annulments in Pennsylvania, contact Kalinoski Law Offices, P.C., today.