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Under California family law, when can a marriage be annulled?


For some California couples, not only do they want to end their marriage, but they would like to have it legally viewed as if it never even happened at all. This is referred to as an annulment. There are certain issues that can allow for a marriage to be annulled. Those who are experiencing family legal issues and would like to annul their marriage should understand when this is possible.

A marriage in California will never be legal in the following two circumstances: if it is incestuous and if it is bigamous. People who are married are not allowed to be close blood relatives. If they are, it is incestuous. If a person is already married to another, he or she cannot get married to a third person. If they do, it is bigamous.

There are other reasons for a marriage to be declared invalid. If a person who was married was under age 18 at the time of marriage, then can request an annulment. When a party was legally married when the new marriage took place, then the second marriage is invalid - this is not the same thing as bigamy because the new marriage took place after the spouse had either been absent for five years or was thought to be dead. Being of unsound mind and not being able to understand a marriage is a reason for annulment. If the marriage was a result of fraud regarding something vital with the relationship, the marriage can be voided. When the marriage commenced through force, it is grounds for annulment. Finally, if there was physical incapacity and a spouse could not consummate the relationship with the incapacity ongoing, the marriage can be annulled.

For an annulment, it must be shown to a judge that one of the above reasons is applicable. It is often difficult to receive an annulment, so when there are family law issues making it desirable to have an annulment, speaking to an attorney who is skilled at all aspects of family law can be helpful.

Source: courts.ca.gov, "Annulment -- Legal Reasons For An Annulment," accessed on April 3, 2017

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