What is an annulment and why would someone want one?
Like a divorce, an annulment is a court procedure that dissolves, or ends, a marriage. An annulment is different from a divorce in that an annulment treats the marriage like it never happened. There are many reasons why someone may want to obtain an annulment instead of a divorce; however, they should discuss the benefits of each with an experienced attorney, before proceeding.
What are the grounds for an annulment in New Jersey?
There are specific grounds, for getting an annulment:
a. you or your spouse was under age 18 at the time you married and since turning 18 you and your spouse have not had sexual relations
b. due to a mental condition or intoxication, you or your spouse was unable to comprehend that you were marrying
c. fraud, or lies, by you or your spouse that induced the other to marry
d. you or your spouse only married because of severe threats
e. incurable impotence by you or your spouse at the time of the marriage
f.the marriage was illegal because you and your spouse are too closely related, or
g. bigamy, which means that you or your spouse was married to someone else at the time of your marriage.
How do I get an annulment in New Jersey?
Like a Divorce, you file a Complaint in the Family Court, alleging one or more of the grounds for an annulment. If your spouse consents to the annulment, usually only you will have to appear in court, and the annulment If your spouse does not consent, a hearing will be heard, at which time you will have to present your proof that you are entitled to an annulment, under one of the grounds listed above. If the judge agrees that you are entitled to an annulment, a Judgment of Nullity will be entered, and your marriage will be considered void ab initio, as if you were never married.
What about any Children From the Marriage?
If there were children born to the marriage, they will still be legitimate after an annulment, and the judge can decide during the annulment proceeding issues regarding custody and child support.
You can find the law regarding annulments at N.J.S.A. 2A:34-1, et seq.