The short video above provides a general overview of the requirements for filing an annulment in California and the statutory reasons the court will grant a California annulment judgment. Note that this video is part one of three. You can view the video in its entirety here to learn more about the annulment, legal separation, and divorce processes in California.

California Annulment Process Requirements

Oftentimes, clients mistakenly assume the court will annul their marriage simply because it lasted a short time. However, in order to get an annulment under California law, parties must file a petition and allege one of several specific circumstances. Then, the parties must attend a court hearing, appear before a judge, and give oral testimony to substantiate the basis on which they are requesting the annulment.

Two Premises for California Annulment

There are two basic premises under which a California court will grant annulment of a marriage. First, the court will annul a marriage that is not valid or legal. Second, the court will annul a marriage that they can “determine” to be invalid. Remember: it is only possible to get a marriage annulled in California if it qualifies under the legal statutes for annulment.

1. Annulment Based on Illegal or Void Marriage

For the court to declare a marriage legally not valid, they would require evidence that the marriage was either incestuous or bigamous. In an incestuous marriage, the married parties or registered domestic partners are close blood relatives. On the other hand, in a bigamous marriage, one of the spouses or domestic partners is already married or in a registered domestic partnership relationship.

2. Annulment Based on Invalid or Voidable Marriage

More commonly, the court will annul marriages under the premise that they can “determine” them invalid. There are several circumstances under which California annulment laws grant this premise:

  • Age of Party

If one of the parties was under the age of 18 and did not have parental consent to marry, the court would determine the marriage invalid.

  • Prior Existing Marriage

If either party was already married to someone else, the parties could seek to annul the current marriage. However, note that this circumstance differs from bigamy. Bigamy is when a person deliberately remarries without finalizing divorce. On the contrary, with a prior existing marriage, a party typically believes they finalized their divorced before remarrying. A surprisingly common example is a spouse that has been missing for an extended period of time and is wrongly assumed to be dead. In this case, if the other spouse remarries and then discovers their spouse is alive, the court will determine the second marriage is invalid.

  • Unsound Mind

When a party is unable to understand what they are doing or does not have the capacity to understand, the court refers to this circumstance as “unsound mind”. For instance, some people go to Las Vegas, get drunk, and decide to marry. If brought to court, this circumstance would be a basis for unsound mind.

  • Fraud

Fraud occurs if either party married their spouse on the basis of false representations or circumstances. For example, the court would consider a 60-year-old falsely claiming to be 40 as fraud. That said, fraud can occur under a plethora of circumstances.

  • Force

The court will annul a marriage that one party was forced into against their will.

  • Physical Incapacitation

Finally, physical incapacitation usually has to do with the inability to consummate the marriage.

A People’s Choice Can Help

Filing for annulment in California starts with filling out the appropriate forms. Luckily, A People’s Choice is here to make that process a lot easier. If you choose to submit an application for annulment without an attorney, contact us to learn how we can help. A People’s Choice has over 40 years experience providing reasonably priced non-attorney legal document assistance. Give us a call today at 800-747-2780 for more information.

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