How to Get an Annulment in Florida

A divorce is known as a dissolution of marriage in Florida and a dissolution of marriage is granted when something went wrong in a valid marriage and the couple has developed irreconcilable differences. See Florida divorce law 61.052. An annulment, however, is granted if a judge determines that there was never a valid marriage in the first place. The purpose of this article is to help answer the question, how to get an annulment in Florida. This article is intended to be general in nature and not specific advice for anyone trying to figure out how to get an annulment in Florida. If you need help with obtaining an annulment in Florida contact a divorce attorney in your area.

Is the Marriage Void or Voidable

For a marriage to be invalid it must be either void or voidable. A void marriage is one that should never have been permitted to form under the existing law. An example of a void marriage is one based on bigamy, with one or both spouses already married to another when attempting to marry each other.

A voidable marriage is one that had grounds to exist when the marriage started, but something has been learned later that should nullify the marriage. An example of a voidable marriage is where one spouse lied about a fundamental aspect of the marriage in which the other spouse married them relying on that fundamental aspect. Either a void or voidable marriage must be shown to have existed to be granted an annulment.

For more information about a whether or not a specific set of circumstances may qualify for an annulment in Florida contact a divorce attorney. Many divorce law firms in Tampa will offer a free initial consultation for these types of situations.

How to Get an Annulment in Florida

Either spouse may be permitted to file for an annulment in Florida. Under a voidable marriage, the one petitioning for the annulment must be a party to the marriage, but only one party must petition for the annulment. A void marriage can be petitioned for an annulment even after both of the parties are deceased. However, a voidable marriage must be petitioned by one of the parties to the marriage before the death of either party. See Florida annulment case Arnelle v. Fisher

There is no specific statute that governs annulments in Florida, therefore, judges must reference existing case law to determine if an annulment is appropriate in each case. This means that the judge will look at previous cases and determine if the facts in the current case are similar to previous cases and the outcome in those cases.

Grounds for an annulment are not simple to prove and Florida divorce law can be a bit ambiguous regarding these matters. It is best to contact an experienced divorce attorney to determine if there is a possibility for an annulment based on the circumstances of a particular case. Potential grounds for an annulment can include: lacking the required mental state upon the formation of the marriage, fraud going towards the essence of the marriage, duress, bigamy, one or both parties being below the age of majority, and the parties being too closely related to one another.

How to Get an Annulment in Florida with Alimony

If an annulment is granted then it resolves the marriage as if it never happened. There is no need for the process of divorce or dividing of marital assets because there was no valid marriage and no marital assets because there was no valid marriage. Alimony is generally not granted upon an annulment, but under the correct circumstances an award of alimony is possible.

An example of circumstances in which this happens is in the case Kindle v. Kindle, in which the husband was still married when he attempted to marry the “wife”. The “wife” did not know about the previous marriage still being valid and was thus an innocent victim and to deny her alimony after a twenty (20) year marriage would be unjust. The court granted permanent alimony to the wife and granted an annulment because the marriage was never valid. It is important to keep in mind that cases in which permanent alimony being granted after an annulment are rare and requires certain circumstances. Consult a divorce attorney to determine if you case has the required circumstances.

Divorce Law Firm in Tampa

If you need assistance on how to get an annulment in Florida contact Florida Law Advisers, P.A. to speak with a Tampa divorce lawyer. 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 we can draft all the paperwork and navigate the petition through the court system in a timely manner. Contact us today by phone, email, or live web chat to schedule a free consultation with a divorce lawyer at our firm.

annulment in Florida

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.