In New Jersey, a marriage can be ended through annulment or divorce, but they have very different legal requirements. The grounds for annulment are specific and, therefore, generally more challenging to achieve than divorce. In most annulment cases, the duration of the marriage is very short. The significance of an annulment is that afterward, both parties may legally state that they have never been married. The annulment process has no division of assets; it is simply to have the marriage voided. It should also be noted that a legal annulment differs from a religious one. Once granted, an annulment is final.
An annulment has stricter requirements than a divorce, and New Jersey courts do not grant them often. To have your marriage annulled in New Jersey, you must present solid evidence that it was not valid for certain reasons, including:
- Bigamy: If one of the spouses was already legally married at the time of the second marriage.
- Duress: If one of the spouses was coerced into marriage under the threat of physical harm or violence to their person or their family.
- Fraud: If one spouse falsely represents themselves or their circumstances so that it affects the marriage in a significant way, such as lying about immigration status, lying about addiction to alcohol, drugs, or sex, or lying about a criminal record.
- Impotence: If one spouse knowingly withheld information about their impotence.
- Incest: If the spouses’ relationship was outside the degree of relation allowed by law.
- Under the legal age limit: If one or both spouses were underage at the time of marriage.
- Mental competency: If either party had a disability, was intoxicated, or was under the influence of drugs, it can be argued that they did not legally have the mental competency to enter into the marriage.
Grounds for annulment must be proven with irrefutable evidence. This is easiest in cases where the age requirement is unmet, as a birth certificate suffices. Fraud is the most common reason for filing for annulment, but no matter the circumstances, the burden of proof is yours when you go before the court.
Contact a divorce lawyer to determine if an annulment is right for you. Remember that there will be no division of assets and finances and no spousal support. If this is important to you, divorce may be a better option. Either way, it is best to have someone advocating for your interests who can help you avoid future legal problems.
Our Marlton Divorce Lawyers at Burnham Douglass Help Clients Through Divorce and Annulment
Whether you seek an annulment or divorce, we can provide personalized, compassionate legal advice at Burnham Douglass. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our Marlton divorce lawyers by calling 856-751-5505 or contacting us online. Located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Evesham Township, Cherry Hill, Camden County, Burlington County, Northfield, and Atlantic City.