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Divorcing In Orange County? Have You Considered Seeking Annulment

Aug 16, 2008
In Orange County, marriages are terminated using one of three legal remedies.

(1) Legal Separation; (2) Marital Dissolution; or (3) Nullity.

Should you seek a nullity, is it an option? It depends. Primarily on whether the validity of your marriage is in doubt. The main difference between martial dissolution and nullity of a marriage is that they they are based on opposing assumptions.

A marital dissolution action is used to terminate an otherwise valid marriage on grounds that arise after marriage. On the other hand, a nullity is pursued because the petitioner (the filing party) believes that at the time of the marriage, no valid marriage ever occurred.

A nullity action requires a court to investigate whether there was ever a valid marriage. And the burden to prove the marriage invalid rests with the petitioner Was this marriage a valid marriage from the inception?

So is your marriage valid? A marriage may be invalid from the beginning because of irregularities in the statutory formalization procedures, which are ordinarily obtaining the license, solemnization and authentication. However, it also may be void or voidable because of other legal imperfections including but not limited to incest, bigamy, inducement by fraud or force, or where a party or both parties are under the age of consent at the time of the marriage.

Even if a nullity is an option keep in mind that there are some disadvantages of a nullity proceeding, including but not limited to the following. Proving grounds for a judgment of nullity are likely to be more difficult and costly to prove. The party seeking a judgment of nullity may also have to overcome statutes of limitations hurdles. Fault play no role in a marriage dissolution proceeding. In a nullity proceeding, however, issues of ?innocence? or ?fault? are very important for questions of support and an attorney fees and costs award, as well as determining marital (quasi-marital) property rights.

Parties to an invalid marriage do not have ?community property? rights. But property acquired during the void or voidable marriage, which would have been community property but for the impediment to a valid marriage, may be deemed ?quasi-marital property? and divided in a nullity proceeding as if it were community property. This only happens where ?putative spouse? status is established (that this spouse has a good faith belief that the marriage is valid).

Nullity actions do have disadvantages but there are many benefits that may interest you as well. Will you please visit my site linked below to read about the benefits. And will you also please schedule a free, confidential consultation while you're there.
About the Author
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