An annulment is a legal action that retroactively invalidates a marriage. Whereas a divorce legally terminates a marriage, an annulment makes it so that a marriage never occurred. In order to obtain an annulment in Florida, there must be qualifying grounds that existed at the time of the marriage. Here are some common grounds upon which an annulment may be granted:
- Age – If one party is under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage, the parties need parental permission or judicial approval in order to enter into a valid marriage.
- Statutory prohibition of marriage – In Florida, certain marriages are statutorily prohibited and are therefore subject to annulment. For example:
- The parties to the marriage are the same gender
- The parties to the marriage share a close familial connection
- Either party to the marriage is still legally married to another person
- Lack of mental capacity – Both parties must have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage. If either party is mentally incapacitated at the time of the marriage, it may be annulled. This includes serious mental disorders, insanity and intoxication.
- Lack of ability to consummate – If a party to the marriage is unable to physically consummate the marriage, the marriage may be annulled. However, this is only an actionable ground for annulment when the following factors are met:
- The non-impotent spouse is unaware of the impotence prior to marriage
- The non-impotent spouse does not ratify the marriage by continuing with the marriage after discovering the impotence
- Wrongful inducement – If a party to the marriage is induced to marry based on fraud, force, coercion or duress that is attributable to the other spouse, the marriage may be annulled. However, in order to annul a marriage based on this ground, the party may not voluntarily engage in marital cohabitation after discovering the wrongful inducements or freeing themselves from its control.
If you’re seeking an annulment, contact an experienced Orlando family lawyer today. Our dedicated legal team has can help walk you through your options.