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What Is a Legal Annulment?

Divorce and annulment

Are you wondering whether your marriage is actually valid?

Legal annulment declares that marriage never existed but this can only happen in certain situations. Since it is a civil court process, it can be just as long as a divorce and should not be confused with an alternative to divorce. As family law attorney who served many clients asking themselves the same question, I can help you better understand if your marriage is valid.

In order for Michigan civil courts to grant annulment, there a few situations the marriage must fall under. If one spouse forced the other to marry, then the court will annul the marriage.

The same is true for fraud.

One example of fraud can be that one spouse enters marriage without any intention of having sex or having children and never informed the other spouse. Since one spouse is at fault for fraud or force, the court will grant custody of children to the innocent parent. The marriage will also be invalid for bigamy, which means one spouse is currently married to another person. If a spouse is under 16, the marriage is void unless there is permission from the court. The marriage can become valid if the spouses continue to be married after they both reach the legal age. In regards to kinship, two individuals that are related as siblings, mother or father, aunt or uncle, or stepfamily, then the marriage is void. 

To annul a marriage, one must file a claim in the county where one of the spouses’ lives.  If the court does grant legal annulment, then the marriage will have never existed. If there were children in the annulled marriage, they are still considered legitimate and the parents can go through the court for child custody and visitation. However, the children will be legitimate children of the capable spouse if the other was underage or incapable. With regards to assets acquired during the marriage, the judge can distribute them in the manner they see fit. The judge can also order one spouse to make payments to another for a limited time since an annulled marriage does not permit permanent alimony.

There can be a lot of complications with regards to division of assets and child custody for an annulled marriage. Please contact me for a free consultation if you find yourself questioning the validity of your marriage.  

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