Many people expect the notion of annulment to arise in connection with a Las Vegas chapel, a few too many drinks, and a wedding ceremony conducted by Elvis as officiant. The scenario makes for great stories, but the truth is that laws regarding annulment are far more extensive from a legal point of view. Part of the reason is New York’s statutory requirements for filing for divorce. Unless you can prove one of the six fault-based grounds, you must pursue a divorce under the no-fault rules – which require you to be married for at least six months. You could wait for the deadline to expire, but annulling your marriage may be another option to consider.
Of course, as with any legal matter, there are eligibility requirements and rules you must follow. Errors and misunderstandings about the law can be harmful to your interests, especially where they thwart your efforts to end the marriage. You should trust a New York annulment lawyer to guide you, but an overview may be helpful.
Specifics of New York’s Divorce Law: When going through the annulment process, one party is requesting the court to find that your marriage never existed at all. Any specific reason you may have to seek an annulment must fall within one of the categories listed in the New York annulment statute. The five grounds include:
- One or both parties was not 18 years old when marrying
- Either spouse could not consent to the marriage due to incapacity
- A party was physically unable to have sexual relations
- There was fraud, duress, or coercion involved with the nuptials
- A spouse was mentally ill for at least five years
4 Reasons to Seek Annulment: With these five legal factors in mind, you see that there are a few scenarios in which you might seek to have a marriage annulled – or need to respond to someone else’s legal action. For example:
- Someone Forgot to Finalize: Amid the pressure and stress of a previous divorce, it is possible that the parties did not wrap up the case. An annulment is proper for any marriage later in time because the spouse that was still married cannot consent to marry someone else.
- Marriage by Deception: Annulment may be proper where a spouse makes fraudulent misrepresentations or misleading statements, to the point where the other would never have agreed to marriage if he or she had known the truth. Examples of fraud warranting annulment include:
- Hiding sterility or existing pregnancy
- False claims to want children
- Refusal to engage in marital relations
- Incapacity: A spouse can seek annulment based upon mental illness under New York law, though the process involves an assessment of other spouse’s medical condition. A judge can only annul the marriage after three physicians conduct a thorough examination of the ill spouse, and report to the court that he or she suffers from incurable mental disease.
- Religious Grounds: Some religions do not recognize divorce or impose other barriers to ending a marriage. Annulment may be an option to resolve the issue legally.
Contact a New York Annulment Attorney for Assistance with the Process
This summary of the reasons you may seek annulment is helpful, but there are many other legal details that affect your interests. Plus, the required forms, documentation, and legal process can be daunting if you do not have a legal background. Instead of putting your rights at risk, count on our team at The Mandel Law Firm. You can reach our Manhattan office by calling (646) 770-3868 or visiting our firm online to set up a consultation with one of our lawyers.