An annulment is a legal process similar to a divorce in that it dissolves, or ends, a marriage. The main difference is that an annulment erases the marriage as though it never happened in the first place. Divorce carries a negative connotation for many people, so some couples would rather have the marriage annulled instead. There are certain conditions that must be met in order for annulment to be considered by a New Jersey court.
What are the Grounds for Annulment in NJ?
If getting an annulment was the same process as getting a divorce, many couples would choose to do so instead of dealing with the complications of a divorce. In New Jersey, there are a certain set of circumstances that can serve as grounds for annulment:
- Bigamy – One spouse already had another spouse at the time of the marriage without the other spouse’s knowledge. Bigamy is a criminal offense.
- Duress – The couple married under threat of serious violence
- Nonage – One of the spouses was under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage. A person under the age of 18 cannot legally consent to be married.
- Incapacity – One of the spouses was lacking the mental capacity to consent to the marriage at the time of the marriage. Intoxication is a common cause of decreased mental awareness in these cases.
- Impotence or Inability to have children – One spouse was impotent or unable to bear children at the time of the marriage and concealed this from the other spouse.
- Incest – The two spouses are related to each other.
- Fraud – Any number of misrepresentations that affect a marriage can be considered fraud and grounds for annulment. Here are a few common cases of fraud in regards to a marriage:
- A spouse lies to the other about wanting or not wanting children
- A spouse does not disclose they have a drug or alcohol addiction
- One spouse is an immigrant simply using the other to stay in the country
- Misrepresentation of religious beliefs
- A woman fails to disclose she is pregnant at the time of the marriage with a child of another man
In most annulment cases, the marriage will only be short lived, and assets and debts will not have been accumulated in abundance by either party. No division of property takes place in an annulment as it treats the marriage as though it never occured.
Contact Us Today
Are you in a situation where you think annulment may be the right course of action for your and your spouse? Contact Himelman & Himelman today to schedule a consultation and we can discuss the specifics of your case.