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Annulment vs. Divorce in Florida

Annulments typically take place a short period of time after the marriage, as little as a few days to several months. The largest difference between an annulment and a divorce is that an annulment views the marriage as having never happened. Of the several alternatives to divorce, annulment has a variety of advantages over divorce. Not only can the couples avoid many of the lengthy and time-consuming processes of divorce court, pursuing an annulment is based on the grounds that the marriage had no validity in the first place.

Grounds for Annulment

The most common way to initiate an annulment is to go through family court and have a civil annulment. In order to have the annulment recognized and granted by the state, you and your spouse will need to provide a reason as to why the marriage should be considered voided, never should have taken place, or that either spouse could not consent.

Here are the most widely used and valid reasons for attaining annulment:

  • Fraud
  • Bigamy
  • Underage spouse
  • Duress or force
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Impotence or inability to consummate marriage
  • Physical or mental incapacitation

The common thread in many of the above following reasons is that one or both spouses involved was misled into the marriage under a false pretense. In cases such as mental incapacitation or a spouse with a history of substance abuse, something during the course of the marriage made that spouse unable to carry out the responsibilities required.

The Limitations Under Florida Law

If the marriage was consummated, the filing spouse may have difficulty getting their case granted. Florida’s law has a strict condition about the validation of marriage: if it was consummated, the marriage can be considered valid. As an example, the two spouses were under the influence of alcohol, agreed to marry, and the marriage was consummated after. This may weaken the case for annulment, due to this provision in the law. Furthermore, other issues that spouses will still need to discuss include determining child custody, child support, visitation rights, and property division.

If you have further questions about how to go about pursuing an annulment, obtain legal counsel from a Miami divorce attorney to learn about the best options for proceeding with your case.

Do you believe you have a case for annulment? Call Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today and set up a free consultation with our Miami lawyers to talk about the details of your case.