If there has not been a legally formed marriage, you may be eligible for an annulment in Florida. To create a valid marriage in Florida, a couple must secure a marriage license and then solemnize the marriage in a formal ceremony. The marriage license must be issued by either a Florida county court judge or clerk of the court. The marriage license will expire within 60 days unless there is a ceremony administrated by an ordained minister, elder, or other clergy of any church, a judicial officer whether active or retired, a clerk of the circuit court, or a notary of the State of Florida to formalize the marriage. For more information on how to form a marriage or if you qualify for an annulment in Florida contact a divorce law firm in Tampa to schedule a consultation.
Qualifying for Annulment in Florida
Under Florida annulment law, once a marriage is legally formed it can only be terminated by death or court order. The court can terminate the marriage by issuing either a dissolution of marriage (divorce) or by annulment in Florida. For cases granting an annulment in Florida, the court declares that the marriage never legally existed, and the parties return to the status they were before the marriage. Unlike a divorce, there is no property division or alimony in an annulment in Florida. A divorce is more common because an annulment can only be granted in limited circumstances. Further, an annulment has a higher burden of proof and the party seeking the annulment has the burden of proving the grounds for the annulment. For more information on the differences between a divorce and annulment in Florida contact a divorce lawyer in Tampa for legal counsel.
In order to have a marriage annulled in Florida it must be either void or voidable. A void marriage never existed in the eyes of the law. On the other hand, a voidable marriage remains in effect until it is annulled. Under Florida law, only marriages which involve bigamy, incest or parties of the same sex are void. Conversely, a marriage is voidable if it was obtained by fraud, duress or temporary insanity.
Annulment in Florida Based on Duress
Duress is a degree of pressure that is so strong it deprived the victim of the capacity to refuse the marriage. In Beeks v. Beeks, the Florida Supreme Court ruled, “Where it is sought to annul a marriage contract on the ground of duress, it must be shown by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that the duress dominated throughout the transaction so as to disable the one influenced from acting as a free agent at the time of the marriage.” Accepting any of the benefits of marriage, such as co-habitation or consummation after the duress has ceased may ratify the marriage. If the marriage has been ratified it may not be eligible for an annulment in Florida. Instead, the parties may need to file for divorce with the assistance of a Tampa divorce lawyer.
Annulment in Florida Based on Fraud
Under Florida law, a marriage is induced by fraud if there was an intentional misrepresentation of fact, with knowledge that the other party would rely on it, and as a result of the fraud the victim consented to the marriage. For instance, entering into a marriage with no intent to live as husband and wife can be considered fraud. On the other hand, failing to follow through with a promise is not fraud unless the promisor had no intention of fulfilling the promise at the time it was made. The party seeking an annulment due to fraud must do so within a reasonable time after discovering the fraud. For information on whether your case can qualify for an annulment in Florida contact a Tampa divorce lawyer.
Tampa Divorce Law Firm
If you think you may have a legal basis for an annulment in Florida contact Florida Law Advisers, P.A. to speak with an attorney. We can review the specifics of your case and provide the legal advice you need to make an informed decision. If there are grounds for an annulment in Florida we can draft all the paperwork and navigate the petition through the court system in a timely manner. If an annulment is not possible, we can assist with filing for divorce to end the marriage as quickly as possible. You can contact us today by phone, email, or live web chat to schedule a free consultation with a Tampa divorce lawyer at our firm.