You found the love of your life, had the wedding of your dreams, and then found out that none of it was real.. 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 annulment in Pennsylvania.
What is an annulment?
Though they both end marriages, annulments and divorces 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 annulments for religious purposes. However, only the church can grant religious annulments. Because of this, they have no legal merit on a couple’s marital status as far as the state is concerned.
There are reasons for civil annulments in Pennsylvania. They are for void and voidable marriages.
Pennsylvania law does not recognize void marriages. Common void marriages in Pennsylvania include:
- One or both spouses were under age 18 at the time of the marriage.
- 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.
Voidable marriages are a bit different as they are valid but under some circumstances, as their name suggests, can find themselves voided. These voidable marriages include:
- One or both spouses were under age 16 at the time of the marriage.
- Two people under the age of 18 did not receive their parent’s permission before completing their wedding ceremony.
- Either spouse was under the influence of liquor or drugs as they entered into the marriage.
- Either spouse is physically unable to have sexual intercourse.
- One or both spouses married the other under Duress, coercion, or fraud.
It is important that once a spouse discovers grounds for annulment, the spouse files for an annulment. If the couple continues to live together after discovering the issue, the grounds for annulment may be waived.
How to File for an Annulment in Pennsylvania
The court does not always need to give an order to annul void marriages because they are already invalid. 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, parents can file for an annulment to their child’s marriage. When the child is under 18 or lacks the mental capacity, the spouses need to obtain the parents’ consent for a valid marriage.
Proving one of these in court is enough for an annulment. You will need documentation and evidence, which may include a witness testimony to support your claim.
Many individuals fear that utilizing annulments instead of a divorce may impact child support and custody. However, annulments do not.
Annulment Attorney in NEPA
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 meet all of your needs. If you need an attorney for annulments in Pennsylvania, contact Kalinoski Law Offices P.C., today.