Understanding the Effects and Complications of Annulments
An annulment effectively ends a marriage by finding that the union was never valid in the first place. As an annulled marriage is seen as having never technically happened in the eyes of the law, partners who have an annulment sacrifice some of the simplicity in untangling their affairs that is typically afforded to couples who pursue a divorce or legal separation.
Question of Paternity
If a couple had children in a marriage that was later annulled, it can call the father’s paternity into question. This happens because, as the marriage was decidedly unfounded, the birth of the child is viewed as having occurred out of wedlock.
In this case, couples will need to take extra steps to establish paternity and protect the father’s rights after the finalization of their annulment. Doing so allows the couple to seek a judgment on child support, visitation, and custody.
Alimony grants a spouse with low or no income the financial assistance necessary to maintain the same lifestyle they had during their marriage. However, without a proper marriage, there is no appropriate ground for spousal support. Hence, if you had an annulment, you are not entitled to alimony from your previous partner.
Division of Assets
Without a marriage, a couple cannot establish any community property. Therefore, any relationship that is later annulled is not subject to California laws regarding property division. Neither party is entitled to property or assets gained by their spouse throughout their relationship, nor are they responsible for any debts accrued by their partner.
Putative Spouse Status
While unlikely, an individual in an annulled marriage can obtain the privileges afforded to those who seek a formal divorce or legal separation – such as court intervention to determine alimony, custody, and fair asset division – if they qualify for putative spouse status. This title is granted to those who genuinely believed that their marriage was legal and valid.
To qualify, the couple must have abided by the license and ceremony requirements of marriage, therefore giving the innocent spouse proper reason to believe in the legitimacy of their union.
The spouse that caused the marriage to be invalid, either by bigamy or some other fraudulent practice, is not typically able to seek this status.
Gille Kaye Law Group, PC is available to help you understand and approach the annulment process. Contact us today for more information.