The annulment of a marriage in Florida is different from obtaining a divorce. A divorce is the separation of two people who were recognized as one under the law, with marital rights being taken into account when dividing assets and determining alimony. However, an annulment is the revocation of a marriage that was void on its face under the law.
What qualifies a marriage to be annulled?
In the state of Florida, there are no statutory provisions that detail what would allow for a marriage to be annulled. This means that most annulment cases are on a case-by-case basis which depend on the former decisions of courts across the state to determine if a given case would qualify for an annulment. However, Florida does have guidelines as to what would make a marriage void, which is a requirement to file for the annulment of a marriage. Under Florida law a marriage is void if it is one in which one of the two parties is involved with bigamy, incest, or of the same sex. Although in 2015 the United States Supreme Court recognized same sex marriages/civil unions in Obergefell v. Hodges. Additionally, marriages may be void if they were obtained through fraud, duress, or temporary insanity. If at any point the marriage is found to be void the parties may file for annulment with a Florida court.
How long after being married can someone obtain an annulment?
There is no set time requirement in Florida by when an annulment needs to be filed. However, because most marriage annulment cases are based on the marriage having been created out of a fraud there are certain time constraints by which the filing must be carried out. This depends on the kind of fraud and when the fraud was uncovered. This would be determined by a court on a case-by-case basis and why legal representation and advice is usually required to determine if a specific case falls under the various established case law that exists in Florida. If the parties delay too long in bringing an annulment claim after uncovering the alleged fraud that would make the marriage void, the court may ask the parties to seek a dissolution of marriage/divorce.
What do the parties get out of an annulment?
Because an annulment is not like a divorce, the parties do not receive the same distribution of assets as they would in a divorce or alimony. There are cases in which a defrauded party can obtain alimony from the other if they are an “innocent victim.” However, cases like that are rare. In most cases of annulment, the court will not grant alimony to be provided to the innocent party as this is usually provided as part of divorces. Essentially, in getting an annulment the parties will have the law treat the relationship as if it never was a marriage. Thus, there are no marital assets or property to divide in an annulment. Each party will be left as how they were before entering into the marriage.
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