Are you considering pursuing an annulment in Orlando, FL? Unlike the divorce process, many couples are unfamiliar with how an annulment works. An annulment can only be obtained for certain reasons. An experienced Orlando annulment lawyer at Conti Moore Law, PLLC, can help you understand your legal options when it comes to getting your marriage annulled.
Our attorneys have over 50 years of experience between us. We’ve helped countless clients navigate sensitive family law matters since our law firm was founded in 2012.
If you are seeking an annulment, our experienced divorce lawyers can protect your legal rights. Contact our law offices in Orlando, Florida, at (407) 831-0203, to schedule a free consultation to learn more about this area of law.
How Conti Moore Law, PLLC Can Help With an Annulment in Orlando
Annulments are relatively uncommon in Florida. A spouse who wishes to annul the marriage will face an uphill battle. It’s always important to have an experienced Orlando family lawyer by your side before taking legal action.
At Conti Moore Law, LLC, our lawyers have been named to Super Lawyers Rising Stars for six consecutive years. We’ve also been awarded a perfect 10 Avvo rating for our quality legal representation.
When you hire our legal team to represent you, our lawyers will:
- Help you understand your legal options and provide sound legal guidance
- Assess your case to determine whether you have valid grounds for annulment
- Help navigate complex issues, including child custody and child support
- Prepare your annulment paperwork and file a petition it with the courts
- Represent you during all legal hearings
- Advocate on your behalf if your petition for annulment is contested
You don’t have to navigate this difficult time alone. Our Orlando family law attorneys have supported countless clients those these complex procedures. All you have to do is call our law firm to schedule a free consultation today.
What Is an Annulment?
There are two ways to end a marriage in the State of Florida: divorce or annulment. As most people know, a divorce ends a valid marriage.
On the other hand, an annulment can only be obtained if the marriage is void or voidable. A void marriage is one that never really existed. For example, if one party to the marriage was already married to someone else, the marriage to the second spouse is void. A voidable marriage is one that should never have occurred because of something that is discovered later. Marriages that are entered into because of fraud or duress, for example, are considered voidable.
When you obtain an annulment, it is as though the marriage never occurred. Because the marriage never legally existed, each party simply returns to their pre-marital status.
There are both civil annulments and religious annulments. Religious annulments are handled by the church itself. Civil annulments are handled by the civil courts and deal with the legal aspects.
In the State of Florida, there is no specific statute that governs annulments. Instead, courts interpret prior cases to determine whether a current couple has a valid reason to obtain an annulment.
What Are the Valid Reasons for an Annulment in Florida?
Two spouses can obtain a divorce simply because they experience irreconcilable differences. In reality, you can obtain a divorce for any reason at all.
Conversely, a valid and specific reason must exist for the courts to grant an annulment. The parties must show that the marriage is void or voidable. Every void marriage will be annulled, regardless of what the spouses desire. Courts may or may not grant an annulment if the marriage is voidable.
A marriage is void if:
- One spouse is married to more than one person, meaning that the marriage is bigamous
- The marriage is incestuous because the spouses are closely related by blood
- One spouse suffers from a permanent mental incapacity, so is unable to consent to the marriage
Florida courts have determined that the marriage may be voidable if:
- One spouse was incapable of consent at the time of marriage, but the inability to consent was temporary (for example, if one spouse was intoxicated or suffered a temporary disability)
- One or both spouses entered the marriage due to duress or coercion
- One of the spouses used fraud, misrepresentations, or intentionally concealed important facts to convince the other spouse to enter the marriage
- One spouse concealed sexual impotence or refuses to consummate the marriage
- One spouse was underage at the time of marriage and did not have a parent or guardian’s consent to enter the marriage
One of these grounds must have existed at the time of the marriage. However, marriages that are merely voidable can be made legal if the couple consummates the marriage at a later date.
What Is the Difference Between an Annulment and Divorce in Florida?
Filing for annulment and filing for divorce achieve the same thing. After the process is complete, the parties obtain a dissolution of marriage.
However, with a divorce, all parties recognize that the marriage did exist. In an annulment, all parties agree that the two spouses were never legally married, so the marriage did not exist.
There are, of course, many similarities between divorce and annulment. In both cases, courts must deal with:
- Property acquired during the marriage
- Child custody arrangements
- Child support matters
After an annulment, it is as though the marriage never existed. Still, any children that were born during the marriage still exist. If the marriage was voidable, paternity will not be an issue. That’s because Florida law considers voidable marriages to be valid until they’re formally annulled.
If the divorce was void from the beginning, paternity could become an issue. The courts will still make decisions about child custody, visitation, and support.
Are There Any Advantages To Seeking an Annulment Instead of a Divorce?
The primary advantage to seeking an annulment instead of a divorce is religious beliefs. Some religions do not approve of divorce. Those religions may, however, not classify an annulment as an official divorce. After all, the purpose of an annulment is to make it as though the marriage never happened.
That can be beneficial because it can allow the spouse to marry again without violating the couple’s religious beliefs.
Some religions, such as the Catholic Church, have their own procedures for obtaining an annulment. However, the couple will still be considered legally married under Florida law.
Additional advantages aside from religion may also make annulment more appealing. For example, property division is handled differently after an annulment. That can allow each couple to protect their own property. Courts instead try to allocate property as it was owned prior to the marriage.
Spouses are not necessarily entitled to alimony or spousal support after an annulment is completed. If one spouse was receiving alimony payments prior to the marriage, it’s also possible that those payments can be restored. On the other hand, courts do have the authority to award temporary alimony in annulment cases, especially in cases where one party was misled or defrauded.
Under Florida law, certain financial arrangements and trusts will automatically be dissolved when the couple obtains an annulment. If these types of arrangements are an issue, it’s especially important to consult an experienced Orlando annulment attorney before taking legal action.
At Conti Moore Law, PLLC, we’re always available to discuss your case. Just call for a free case review today.
Annulment Process in Orlando
Spouses are required to obtain a court order to get an annulment. The petition is similar to a petition for divorce.
The petition is filed in Florida circuit courts by one spouse and must state:
- The marriage is void or voidable
- The reasons why the marriage is void or voidable
The other spouse can file a counterclaim for divorce if they don’t agree with the information contained in the petition. If the counterclaim is successful, the court will likely grant a divorce rather than annul the marriage.
You will have to provide proof to obtain an annulment. Florida courts assume that a marriage is legal and valid unless proven otherwise. That makes it especially important to have an experienced divorce attorney by your side.
The process for obtaining an annulment in Florida can also be complicated. Florida statutes do not provide much guidance, so the courts are forced to interpret prior decisions when deciding whether to grant an annulment. It’s also important to remember that the court is not obligated to grant the annulment. So, it’s possible that you could file for annulment and the court could deny the petition.
Do you have questions about the annulment process in Orlando? Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation for help today.
Contact an Experienced Orlando Annulment Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Do you believe you have grounds for an annulment? An experienced Orlando annulment lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options. At Conti Moore Law, PLLC, we’ll stand by your side every step of the way. You can get the legal advice you deserve by calling our lawyers for a free consultation today.