As opposed to most states in the U.S., Florida has a unique way of dealing with marriage annulments. No official laws govern or address annulments, but Florida’s higher courts have issued precedent decisions. These decisions make up Florida’s annulment laws and, while possible to be granted an annulment in Florida, it’s unusual and can be quite difficult.
Void vs. Voidable Marriages
In order to receive a marriage annulment in Florida, it must first be classified as either void or voidable. A void marriage is one that was invalid from the very beginning.
Examples of a void marriage are:
- bigamous unions (marriage between three or more people);
- incestuous unions (marriage between closely related family members);
- unions consisting of two same-sex partners;
- unions consisting of one or two underage persons; and
- unions between a mentally competent person and a mentally incapacitated person who can’t give consent.
A voidable marriage is one that wasn’t invalid at the start of the marriage, but became that way after a period of reflection.
A voidable marriage would be if:
- one or both spouses were suffering from temporary mental problems or under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of marriage;
- one spouse misrepresented themselves to trick the other into marriage;
- one or both spouses entered the marriage because they were under duress (extreme coercion or force);
- one spouse is impotent and didn’t divulge this information before the marriage;
- one spouse is underage and entered the marriage without the consent of their legal guardian or parent; and
- one or both spouses entered the marriage as a farce.
If the voidable marriage is consummated after any of these reasons are brought to light, the marriage becomes valid and the party seeking an annulment must file for divorce. This is because the wronged party chose to engage in a sexual relationship while knowing the truth. The state of Florida views this as consent and waives either party’s right to seek restitution.
Steps to an Annulment
If you would like to annul your marriage, and it meets the above criteria, you need to get an official court order. You must file annulment papers in Florida’s circuit court and have it heard by the corrective powers. You must have an understanding of Florida’s family law rules if you would like to be successful. If you aren’t sure what those are, an experienced annulment attorney can guide you through the process.
The annulment process includes:
- filing and serving a petition for annulment; and
- an explanation as to how the marriage is void or voidable.
If the other spouse doesn’t agree with the petition, they can file a counterclaim for dissolution of marriage. Florida assumes all marriages are valid and legal, which means the person seeking an annulment will need to work extremely hard to prove the illegitimacy of their union.
Contact Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A.
If you have recently entered into a marriage you would like to be annulled, contact Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. today. Our Clearwater attorneys are dedicated to helping all our clients achieve a favorable outcome in their court cases.
Give us a call at (727) 245-9009 or contact us online for a case evaluation.