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.
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.
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.
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.
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.