If you wish to dissolve your marriage, an annulment can effectively nullify or void it, as though it never happened. Many people choose annulment for personal or religious reasons, while others simply do not wish to undertake divorce. In order to qualify for an annulment, your marriage must meet a certain standard. For over four decades, attorney Robert Katzenstein in Holland, PA, has guided clients through the legal process, presenting pertinent evidence to provide grounds for civil annulment. He can review the circumstances surrounding your marriage to determine whether you are eligible to pursue this course of action. If you are interested in learning more, contact our firm today.
What is an Annulment?
Annulment, like divorce, ends a marriage. However, while divorce ends a valid marriage between both parties, annulment goes so far as to declare a marriage legally invalid or void. While some individuals choose this route for personal reasons, others simply wish to avoid the drawn-out process of divorce. Depending upon your unique case, you may pursue a civil annulment, which is granted by the court, or a religious annulment, granted by the church. However, as far as the state is concerned, only civil annulments have a legal effect on your marital status.
Divorce ends a valid marriage between both parties, annulment goes so far as to declare a marriage legally invalid or void.
Grounds for Annulment
In Pennsylvania, there are multiple grounds, or reasons, for annulment. All reasons fall into one of two categories: void and voidable. Void marriages are immediately invalid (not recognized by law), whereas voidable marriages require a trial and hearing to prove grounds for annulment.
Void marriages include:
- Common law marriages in which one or both spouses were under the age of 18
- Marriages in which one or both spouses could not consent because of incompetence or impaired mental capacity
- Marriages between relatives (first cousin or closer)
- Bigamous or polygamous marriages
Voidable marriages include:
- Marriages in which one or both spouses were 16 years old or younger
- Marriages in which one or both spouses were under 18 years old and the marriage was carried out without parental consent
- Marriages induced or influenced by liquor and/or drugs (there is a 60-day window for such annulments)
- Marriages in which one or both spouses are unable to partake in sexual intercourse
- Marriages resulting from fraud, coercion, or distress
Our team at Katzenstein Law Offices can determine whether you are eligible to annul your marriage. If this option is not feasible, we can recommend the best course of action for your needs.
What Does the Process Entail?
To annul a voidable marriage, the court requires proof of at least one ground for annulment. If this is applicable to your marriage, you must file the proper paperwork and attend a court hearing, in which any evidence you present will be examined. At least one spouse must have lived in the state of Pennsylvania for a minimum of six months before an annulment can be filed.
If parents wish to bring an action for annulment on behalf of their child, the child must have been under the age of 18 at the time of marriage, and it must be demonstrated that the parents did not consent. Otherwise, it must be proven that the child lacked the mental capacity to consent. During your consultation, we can review the annulment process in detail to ensure you feel confident in the steps of the proceedings.
Contact Our Law Firm
If you are seeking an annulment, attorney Robert Katzenstein can help you achieve a fresh start. With his strong litigative edge and his profound understanding of family law matters, Mr. Katzenstein can guide you through all aspects of your case and provide sound legal counsel. To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call our office at (215) 322-3400.