Six Reasons to Seek an Annulment in New Jersey
One option available for couples seeking to dissolve their union is an annulment. Though this is a rare process in the state of New Jersey, it is distinct from a divorce. Because an annulment indicates that the marriage that preceded it was never in fact legally binding, there are several advantages that an annulment has over a divorce, such as a lack of alimony payments. If you wish to seek an annulment, you have a better chance at winning your case if you can prove one of the following criteria. Be sure to consult with one of our experienced divorce lawyers in New Jersey as you embark on annulment proceedings.
1. Age and Consent Are Crucial to the Validity of a Marriage.
If one spouse wasn’t at least 18 years of age, or didn’t have required parental consent if they were under 18 when married, the marriage is void. Applicants for marriage who are younger than the age of 16 must obtain parental consent and have the consent approved in writing by any judge of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family part. It’s highly unlikely that a person could obtain a marriage license without parental and court approval, but if it did happen, that marriage could be annulled.
2. Bigamy Is a Criminal Offense.
Bigamy, or being married to multiple persons at the same time, is a crime in New Jersey. If your spouse had another living spouse at the time of your marriage, and you were unaware of your spouse’s existing marriage at the time of your marriage, the court may grant an annulment.
3. Certain Types of Fraud Can Be Grounds for Annulment.
Fraudulent misrepresentations made by one spouse to another before a marriage can provide grounds for an annulment on the theory that the fraud affects the validity of consent to the marriage. New Jersey cases require that the premarital fraudulent misrepresentation relates to a vital or essential part of the marital relationship and that the spouse seeking annulment has relied on the misrepresentation.
4. Either Spouse’s Impotence Should Suffice.
Courts will grant annulments on the grounds of impotence where a spouse is either unable to consummate the marriage and/or unable to conceive a child by engaging in sexual relations, or refuses to do so. This is gender neutral: sterility or refusal to engage in sexual relations is grounds for divorce no matter if the sterile or withholding party is a man or a woman. It is important to emphasize that any impotence/inability to conceive that originates after the marriage is not considered to fall within this ground for annulment.
5. Kissing Cousins Are Acceptable, but Closer Relationships Are Not.
It is legal in New Jersey to marry one’s first cousin, but state law prohibits all marriages between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree; between full and half-siblings; and between aunts/uncles and nephews/nieces. Any incestuous marriage would be subject to annulment.
6. Temporary or Chronic Mental Incapacity Can Render a Marriage Null.
The courts have held that persons who lack the mental capacity to understand that they are getting married should not be bound by marriage. Incapacity can result from a mental handicap or from intoxication.
If you desire to pursue an annulment, whether on religious grounds or for one of the reasons above, an attorney with a background in marriage and divorce law can be a vital asset. Before taking any action, ask one of our Divorce Lawyers in New Jersey about the possible defenses you can implement when you argue for annulment in court.
The divorce lawyers in New Jersey at Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to family law matters, including those relating to annulments and divorce. If you want to talk, please call us at 973-459-4927 or fill out the Contact Form on our firm’s website.
David F. Salvaggio, Esq. – Founder & Senior Attorney
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Phone: (973) 455-1220