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How to Dissolve a Marriage by Proving it Never Existed

When New York adopted a form of no-fault divorce, the burden of proof for spouses wanting to dissolve a marriage became significantly lighter. However, any divorce still requires an admission that the marriage was at one point valid, which is something that is not always appropriate.. Whether a person is motivated to get an annulment because of religious objections to divorce or because they were the victim of fraud, Coffinas & Lusthaus, P.C. assists in constructing a case for a civil annulment, a declaration from the court that the couple was never truly married. An annulment has a much higher burden of proof than a divorce, but our firm's Brooklyn divorce attorneys can make an effective case based on facts and present a passionate and persuasive argument on your behalf.

What are the grounds for annulment in New York State?

The difference between a divorce and an annulment is that divorce declares a valid marriage over, while an annulment declares that due to a defect in the formation of the marriage, the couple was never really married. Under New York Domestic Relations Law, there are two types of defective marriages: void and voidable. Under DRL §6, a marriage is automatically invalid (void) if one of the parties was already married to someone else. Under DRL §7, a court may declare a marriage void when:

  • A party is under the age of legal consent — Such a person lacks the legal capacity to enter into marriage. However, if the marriage lasts until the minor reaches the age of consent, and the minor continues to cohabit willingly with the other party, the (former) minor can no longer move for an annulment.
  • A party is incapable of consenting to a marriage for want of understanding — Such a person may be significantly intellectually disabled or mentally ill and lacks the legal capacity to enter into marriage.
  • A party is physically incapable of entering into the married state from physical cause Such a person may be unable to have sexual intercourse
  • Consent to the marriage was obtained by force, duress, or fraud — Each of these actions deprives the other party of agreeing freely, which is essential to forming any kind of contract.
  • A party has had an incurable mental illness for five years — The mental state must have existed at the time the marriage was formed.

Many of our clients who seek an annulment do so because their spouse lied about a material fact, and that, had they known the truth, they never would have agreed to the marriage. For example, if prior to your marriage your spouse told you that he or she wanted children but afterwards you discovered otherwise, you may have fraud grounds for annulment. This constitutes fraud and may result in a court order declaring the marriage null and void.

How To Get An Annulment In NY

In the state of New York, obtaining an annulment involves a distinct process compared to a divorce. Unlike divorce, where a judge may grant it based on written or sworn testimony without a trial, an annulment requires a trial and hearing before a judge. The filing spouse will be required to present evidence in court to prove at least one of the grounds for annulment.

The initial step is submitting necessary paperwork to the court. Following that, the filing spouse must provide compelling evidence, including relevant documents and credible witnesses, to support their claim for annulment.

Navigating the annulment procedure and preparing for a hearing can be complex and overwhelming. To gain a more in-depth understanding of the process and what to anticipate during the hearing, guidance from qualified Brooklyn annulment lawyers at Coffinas & Lusthaus, P.C..

Considering annulment? We have over 50 years of combined experience serving clients in New York in complex family law matters and we are here to provide expert assistance in obtaining an annulment. Schedule a consultation today with an annulment attorney in Brooklyn.

Capable Service Throughout the Annulment Process

At Coffinas & Lusthaus, P.C., we provide legal guidance and support throughout the entire annulment process. It is important to note that even if your marriage is annulled, you still have to negotiate or litigate resolutions to ancillary matters that may include support, child custody, and the division of property. Yes, the court can still divide property and order support in cases of annulment. There is no difference in the way the court settles these ancillary issues. For this reason, having a smart, tough Brooklyn family law attorney on your side who knows the law and gives you all the information so that you can make informed decisions is essential to achieving the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Consult with us – call (718) 717-1005 today!

Coffinas & Lusthaus, P.C. has a well-earned reputation for providing responsive, high-quality representation in family law matters. But we deliberately limit our caseload so we can maintain that high level of service you deserve. If you are seeking an annulment, reach out to our Brooklyn based divorce attorneys.

Begin your case today and call (718) 717-1005.

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