Grounds for Annulment vs Divorce Attorneys in Union County NJ Lawyer
Providing experienced advise across Summit, Elizabeth, Scotch Plains, Linden, and Union County
Most everyone who enters a marriage hopes that it will last a lifetime. Unfortunately, there are various circumstances in which the marriage must end, and when that is the case, either an annulment or a divorce is necessary.
What is the difference between divorce and annulment?
While divorce and annulment are both legal ends to a marriage, their nature – and thus their impact – are different. A divorce, known in New Jersey as “dissolution,” constitutes a separation following a legally-binding and -acknowledged marriage. When a couple gets divorced, a legal process of separating shared assets and terminating the legally-binding contract that was the marriage ensues. When a couple gets an annulment, on the other hand, the marriage is cancelled on the grounds that it was never legally valid. As such, there is no separation of assets.
What are the legal grounds for annulment in New Jersey?
There are multiple legal grounds for annulment in New Jersey according to NJ Statutes 2A:34-1, 20; 37:1-1, and a partner may seek an annulment instead of a divorce in order to avoid the social and financial repercussions a divorce often has. An annulment, while being a quieter and often much cheaper exit to a partnership, is much harder to have granted by the court. This is because a partner must provide evidence of fraud or other misrepresentation that proves the marriage invalid. Such evidence could demonstrate.
- Having multiple spouses is illegal, and bigamy is considered a criminal offense. In addition to being a chargeable criminal offense, if proven with material evidence, it can be grounds for an annulment. In order for a judge to consider this, you must prove you were unaware of your spouse’s existing marriage at the time of your marriage.
- Fraud is any misrepresentation of information or circumstance that affects the marriage, and it is one of the most common causes of annulment. Examples of fraud that render annulment eligible are lies about the desire to have children; lies about addictions to alcohol, sex, or drugs; the withholding of information that a woman is pregnant with another man’s child at the time of marriage; the secret use of a spouse the stay in the country as an immigrant; or lies about religious orientation, when that fact is a central facet of the decision to get married. These must be proven to support a legal case for annulment.
Forced Under Duress
- Duress is the pressure or threat of physical harm unless you go through with a marriage, and this is illegal. If you were pressured to get married in exchange for the physical safety of you or a loved one, you have a legal case for annulment.
- In order for a marriage to be legal, both parties must give informed consent. In the case that one or both partners were unable to give informed consent, as in the case of a couple going through with a marriage while intoxicated, they may have a case for annulment. Informed consent requires that a person have the mental capacity to understand the legal ramifications of the marriage agreement and consent to it.
Withholding of Information of Impotence
- Not all partners can have children; however, it is legally required that anyone entering into a marriage disclose to their partner if they are impotent or unwilling to have children. If, at the time of marriage, your partner does not tell you that they are impotent though they have that information, if they are unable to consummate the marriage, or if they refuse to do so, you may have the legal right to file for annulment of the legal union.
Under Legal Age
- In New Jersey and the United States as a whole, no one under the age of 18 years old can legally be married. The marriage of a person who was under 18 when they were married is subject to annulment at any time during the partnership.
- If you know or learn that you are married to a blood relative, you may be able to file for an annulment.
Because most causes for annulment occur at the time of marriage, annulments generally occur soon after the marriage. In addition to the fact that a short message means that few shared assets will have likely been accumulated, annulment in New Jersey does not include the division of assets, as it renders the marriage void as if never having happened.
Contact a Linden Divorce Lawyer Today
At Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, our team of skilled divorce attorneys is experienced in representing our clients across Summit, Elizabeth, Scotch Plains, Linden, and Union County in all annulment and divorce matters.
To schedule a confidential consultation with our firm today to discuss your legal grounds for annulment, please contact us online or throughout the NJ office by calling (908) 481-4625 today for a confidential consultation today.