It is a common misconception that marriage annulments are granted only to couples for religious reasons. In California, marriages can be terminated through a religious annulment or a civil annulment. If you are contemplating dissolving your marriage bond, it is worthwhile to learn more about the advantages an annulment offers over a divorce.
Benefits of an annulment over a divorce
Divorce can be a complex process, requiring spouses to find common ground on a variety of sensitive issues. Dividing assets and property is just one step within the process, yet this matter can tie up proceedings for months, driving up legal bills and escalating tension.
Property and asset division is streamlined in the annulment process. An annulment erases the marriage record and all aspects related to that union, including possessions and debt. As a result, each spouse retains ownership over property and debt brought into the marriage. Shared property is distributed equitably; judges do not apply community property laws in an annulment. This distinction can help spouses with significant assets retain more of their wealth after the marriage ends.
Reasons for requesting a civil annulment
The reason few people pursue an annulment is that it is not easy to qualify for an order in California. To receive a court order, petitioners need to prove one of these circumstances was present during the marriage:
- The spouses are related.
- One spouse was already married when entering into the second marriage.
- One spouse was forced to marry.
- One spouse used fraud to receive consent for marriage.
- One spouse was underage when the marriage took place.
- One spouse has a mental condition, addiction or permanent physical incapacitation that makes the spouse unable to fulfill marital responsibilities.
Judges will not grant an annulment unless they believe the petitioner has established a strong argument by meeting the burden of proof.
If you are concerned about retaining your property after your marriage is terminated and seek to streamline this process, an annulment may help you achieve your goals. Talking to a qualified professional may help you determine whether you have grounds for an annulment and whether this is a correct approach to take.