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Boynton Beach Family & Divorce Attorney / Blog / Divorce / The Grounds for Annulment in Florida

The Grounds for Annulment in Florida


In the state of Florida, understanding when and how you can seek an annulment is key for those who find themselves in marriages they believe should not be legally recognized. Unlike divorce, which ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment essentially states that, for legal purposes, the marriage was never valid to begin with. Here’s what you need to know about the grounds for annulment in Florida.

What Makes an Annulment Different?

Annulments are a bit of a legal rarity, reserved for specific situations where the marriage is considered void or voidable under Florida law. While a divorce acknowledges the existence of a marriage and seeks to dissolve it equitably, an annulment erases the marriage from a legal standpoint.

Grounds for Annulment in Florida

Florida law distinguishes between void and voidable marriages. A void marriage is inherently invalid and does not require legal action to declare it so, though an annulment can formally document this status. A voidable marriage exists until an annulment or other legal action declares it invalid. Here are the primary grounds under which an annulment might be sought in Florida:

  • Bigamy: If one spouse is already legally married to someone else, the subsequent marriage is void.
  • Incest: Marriages between close relatives are prohibited and automatically considered void.
  • Lack of Capacity: This can include situations where one or both parties were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, mentally incapacitated, or otherwise unable to understand the nature of the marriage contract.
  • Age: If either party was under the age of 18 and married without parental consent, the marriage is voidable.
  • Fraud or Misrepresentation: If the marriage was entered into based on fraudulent acts or significant misrepresentations by one party (e.g., lying about the ability to have children), it could be considered voidable.
  • Duress or Force: Marriages entered into under duress or force can be annulled.
  • Impotence: If one spouse is permanently impotent, and this was not disclosed before marriage, the marriage is voidable.

The Process of Seeking an Annulment

To seek an annulment in Florida, you must file a petition in the circuit court, similar to a divorce. You’ll need to provide evidence supporting the grounds for annulment, which might include witness testimony, medical records, or other documentary evidence. The process can vary in length, depending on the complexity of the case and the evidence required.

Considerations When Seeking an Annulment

  • Children and Custody: Children born to a couple seeking an annulment are considered legitimate, and custody arrangements will need to be determined similarly to a divorce proceeding.
  • Property and Assets: Unlike divorce, where assets are divided equitably, annulment may result in each party retaining the property they brought into the marriage. However, the court can make decisions about jointly acquired assets.
  • Support: While alimony is a common component of divorce settlements, it’s less common in annulments, given the legal stance that the marriage was invalid. However, child support will still be a consideration.

Why Legal Advice is Essential

Navigating the grounds for annulment in Florida and understanding whether your situation qualifies can be complex. Each case is unique, and the success of an annulment petition depends on presenting compelling evidence that your marriage meets one of the legal grounds for annulment.

At the Law Office of Taryn G. Sinatra, P.A., we specialize in family law with a personal touch. We understand the sensitivity and confidentiality required in annulment cases. Our experienced team can guide you through the annulment process, providing clear advice and strong representation to ensure your rights are protected.

Moving Forward

Deciding to seek an annulment is a significant step, reflecting a desire to start anew. Knowing the legal grounds and process for annulment in Florida is the first step toward making an informed decision about your future.

Whether you’re facing questions about the validity of your marriage or seeking a way to turn a new leaf, the Law Office of Taryn G. Sinatra, P.A. is here to support you. Our commitment is to provide compassionate guidance and expert legal advice as you navigate this challenging time.




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