A marriage may end for a variety of reasons and in several different ways. Navigating the legal landscape of a divorce can be challenging and complex. While many people end a marriage through a Dissolution of Marriage (divorce) or a Legal Separation, there are two other ways a marriage may end in the State of California.
A person can file for an annulment (nullity) in the State of California, in an attempt to prove that the marriage never existed. If the court grants this judgment of annulment, the parties will be considered to have never been married at all. However, even without this judgment by a court, individuals whose marriage is “void” under the law, are not really married.
Under Family CodeSection 2200 in California, any marriage between a parent and child, ancestors and descendants, siblings (either half or whole), uncles/aunts and nieces/nephews, are void from the start, no matter if the relationship was legitimate or not. Additionally, under Family Code Section 2201, a marriage will be considered void if a person was already married to someone else (also known as bigamy), or if one person was absent and not known to be living for at least five years, and believed by most people to be dead.
Voidable marriages are ones that are not automatically void, as exemplified above; however, they may become invalid when a judge in the State of California enters a judgment of nullity. Family Code Section 2210 and 2211 indicate that a marriage is voidable for the following reasons:
- The marriage was entered into with one party not being the age of consent (unless, after attaining the age of consent, the person still freely cohabited with the other as a spouse.)
- The spouse of one party was determined to be living, however, was thought dead, or absent for a period of five years.
- Either party was of unsound mind (unless, after coming to sound mind and reason, they then freely cohabited with the other as a spouse).
- The marriage was obtained by fraud (unless, after discovering the fraud, the other party freely cohabited with the other as a spouse).
- The consent of either party was obtained by any measure of force (unless, after the force, the other party gave consent and freely cohabited with the other as a spouse).
- Either party was physically incapable of entering into a legally binding marriage and that incapacity continues and appears to be incurable.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
There are strict guidelines and deadlines, known as the statute of limitations, that apply if you would like to consider obtaining a judgment of nullity of marriage for any reason. If you believe your marriage is either void or voidable due to incest, bigamy, sham, incapacity, or one person being underage, contact the Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers at 714-500-8428 or online today for a free consultation and to understand your legal rights.