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New Jersey Divorce Attorneys Handling Annulments

Do You Have Grounds for a New Jersey Annulment?

While most marriages must be dissolved by divorce or legal separation, sometimes couples are able to have their marriage annulled.

Couples often ask for an annulment rather than a divorce because there is traditionally less of a social stigma to annulments. This stems from the historical fact that some religions frown upon divorce but are accepting of annulments. In addition, courts are less likely to award alimony in annulments. For these reasons a New Jersey annulment is often desired.  Our dedicated New Jersey divorce attorneys have experience helping residents with annulments.

Unfortunately, though often desired, a New Jersey Annulment is rarely granted. In New Jersey, the state treats annulled marriages as void – the court declares that a legal marriage never existed.

There are very strict rules governing the availability of annulments. In order to be eligible for a New Jersey Annulment, there must have been some type of fraud or material misrepresentation to the “essentials of the marriage” relationship. The court decides whether a New Jersey Annulment is appropriate based on the specific facts of the case.

Situations Allowed for a New Jersey Annulment

Age

If one spouse wasn’t at least 18 years of age, or didn’t have required parental consent if they were under 18 when they entered into the Marriage. Applicants 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. If an underage person managed to obtain a marriage license without court or parental approval, the marriage would be subject to annulment.

Impotence / Unable to Conceive

  • Courts will grants 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.
  • A different variation would be when a woman conceals her inability to bear children to her prospective husband.
  • To obtain an annulment on the ground of impotency, the moving party must prove that the other spouse was permanently and incurably impotent/unable to conceive (or unwilling to engage in sexual relations) when the marriage was entered into and that the moving party did not discover the fact until after the marriage.
  • 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.

Bigamy

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, you may be granted an annulment.

Impotence / Unable to Conceive

  • Courts will grants 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.
  • A different variation would be when a woman conceals her inability to bear children to her prospective husband.
  • To obtain an annulment on the ground of impotency, the moving party must prove that the other spouse was permanently and incurably impotent/unable to conceive (or unwilling to engage in sexual relations) when the marriage was entered into and that the moving party did not discover the fact until after the marriage.
  • 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.

Incapacity

  • 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.
  • For examples, couples who got married by Elvis while drunk in Las Vegas often seek annulments on the grounds of incapacity.

Incest

New Jersey law prohibits all marriages between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, and first cousins. Any incestuous marriage would be subject to a New Jersey Annulment.

Fraud

  • Fraudulent misrepresentations made by one spouse to another before a marriage can provide grounds for a New Jersey 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.

Examples of typical fraud cases include:

  • One spouse lies about their desire or to have children.
  • One spouse lies about their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  • One spouse is an immigrant and uses the other spouse to stay in the country.
  • One spouse misrepresents their religious beliefs and that factor was an essential part of the spouse’s decision to get married.
  • A woman fails to advise her spouse at the time of their marriage that she is pregnant by another man.
  • One spouse threatened the other with serious violence in order to induce the other spouse to agree to the marriage.

Couples seeking a New Jersey Annulment are more likely to receive one when the marriage was short and there are few assets or debts to divide. However, courts have granted annulments in more complex cases, even those involving children and alimony. What happens in your case depends on the facts of your specific situation.  It is important to speak with one of our New Jersey divorce attorneys if you are in need of an annulment.

At Salvaggio Law Group LLC, Our New Jersey divorce attorneys are really here to help.