Annulment

Georgia Annulment Laws

Chapter 4 Annulment Of Marriage

19-4-1. When annulments may be granted.

Annulments of marriages declared void by law may be granted by the superior court, except that annulments may not be granted in instances where children are born or are to be born as a result of the marriage.

19-4-2. Right to file for annulment or divorce.

Parties who enter into a marriage which is declared void by law shall have the right to file:

(1) A petition for annulment; or

(2) A petition for divorce, if grounds for divorce exist.

19-4-3. Petition by next friend.

A petition for annulment may be filed by next friend for minors or persons of unsound mind.

19-4-4. Procedure.

All matters of service, jurisdiction, procedure, residence, pleading, and practice for obtaining an annulment of marriage shall be the same as those provided by law for obtaining a divorce, with the exception that a decree of annulment may be ordered at any time, in open court or in chambers, when personal service is had at least 30 days beforehand and no contest or answer is filed.

19-4-5. Effect of annulment.

A decree of annulment, when rendered, shall have the effect of a total divorce between the parties of a void marriage and shall return the parties thereto to their original status before marriage. However, a decree of annulment shall not operate to relieve the parties to a marriage of criminal charges or responsibilities occasioned by the marriage.

SOURCE: DivorceOnline.com

Frequently Asked Questions About Annulment

1. What is an Annulment?

An annulment is a legal order declaring that a marriage never existed. Annulments are rare and only granted in unusual circumstances.

2. On what grounds can I receive an annulment

You may receive an annulment if . . .

  • You and your spouse are related as follows: parent/child, stepchild; grandparent/grandchild; aunt/nephew; uncle/niece.
  • You did not have the mental capacity to enter into a contract.
  • You were under the age of 16 when you entered into your marriage.
  • You were forced to enter into the marriage.
  • You were fraudulently induced to enter into the marriage.
  • Your spouse was married to another living spouse at the time you entered into the marriage.

(more…)

Annulment and Separation FAQ

Learn about these options instead of — or before — divorce.

How does an annulment differ from a divorce?

Like a divorce, an annulment is a court procedure that dissolves a marriage. But, unlike a divorce, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened. For some people, divorce carries a stigma, and they would rather their marriage be annulled. Others prefer an annulment because it may be easier to remarry in their church if they go through an annulment rather than a divorce.

Grounds for annulment vary slightly from state to state. Generally, an annulment requires that at least one of the following reasons exists:

  • Misrepresentation or fraud — for example, a spouse lied about the capacity to have children, falsely stated that she had reached the age of consent, or failed to say that she was still married to someone else.
  • Concealment — for example, concealing an addiction to alcohol or drugs, conviction of a felony, children from a prior relationship, a sexually transmitted disease, or impotency.
  • Refusal or inability to consummate the marriage — that is, refusal or inability of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with the other spouse.
  • Misunderstanding — for example, one person wanted children and the other did not.

These are the grounds for civil annulments. Within the Roman Catholic Church, a couple may obtain a religious annulment after obtaining a civil divorce, so that one or both people may remarry, within the church or anywhere else, and have the second union recognized by the church.

Most annulments take place after a marriage of a very short duration — a few weeks or months — so there are usually no assets or debts to divide, or children for whom custody, visitation, and child support are a concern. When a long-term marriage is annulled, however, most states have provisions for dividing property and debts, as well as determining custody, visitation, child support, and alimony. Children of an annulled marriage are not considered illegitimate.

When are married people considered separated?

Many people are confused about what is meant by "separated" — and it’s no wonder, given that there are four different kinds of separations:

  • Trial separation. When a couple lives apart for a test period, to decide whether or not to separate permanently, it’s called a trial separation. Even if they don’t get back together, the assets they accumulate and debts they incur during the trial period are usually considered jointly owned. This type of separation is usually not legally recognized, but is instead a specific period in a couple’s relationship.

  • Living apart. Spouses who no longer reside in the same dwelling are said to be living apart. In some states, living apart without intending to reunite changes the spouses’ property rights. For example, some states consider property accumulated and debts incurred while living apart to be the separate property or debt of the person who accumulated or incurred it. In other states, property is joint unless and until a divorce complaint is filed in court.

  • Permanent separation. When a couple decides to permanently split up, it’s often called a permanent separation. It may follow a trial separation, or may begin immediately when the couple starts living apart. In most states, all assets received and most debts incurred after permanent separation are the separate property or responsibility of the spouse incurring them. However, debts that happen after separation and before divorce are usually joint debts if they are incurred for certain necessities, such as to provide for the children or maintain the marital home. Again, a couple’s decision to permanently separate may not be considered a legal one unless one party takes the other to court for support or custody pending a divorce action. This then leads to a state of legal separation.

  • Legal separation. A legal separation results when the parties separate and a court rules on the division of property, alimony, child support, custody, and visitation — but does not grant a divorce. The money awarded for support of the spouse and children under these circumstances is often called separate maintenance (as opposed to alimony and child support). In some states, separate maintenance can be obtained with a motion pendente lite, or pending the litigation. Usually a lawyer files this motion. These motions set the tone for what may be awarded in a future divorce judgement.

SOURCES: FindLaw

Annulments – Overview

Annulments of marriage are rare in today’s society, but the procedure is still available if the required legal grounds for annulment are present. The legal theory underlying annulment is that the marriage was never valid to begin with — meaning that the marriage never existed in the eyes of the law. In legal terms, marriages subject to annulment are classified as "void" or "voidable," and are sometimes called "nullified" marriages. An action for an annulment must be started by a certain time. The time limit depends on the type of marriage entered into and the state in which you live. 

Annulment or Divorce?

Annulment is distinct from divorce in that a divorce terminates a previously valid marriage. Remember that the key to an annulment is that the marriage was never a valid one in the eyes of the law. As in divorce, however, in annulment cases the court may award custody of children of the marriage and require payment of child support and support of a party.

Legal Grounds for Annulment

Courts will order that a marriage be annulled if one of the following situations can be established:

  • Mental Illness, Insanity or Retardation: If a person is married while mentally ill, insane or so mentally retarded that he or she could not knowingly and willingly consent to marriage, then the marriage may be annulled. Here, annulment would be granted on the theory that marriage is a consensual relationship, and most mentally ill, insane, or retarded people are considered incapable of giving legal consent.
  • Temporary Insanity: If temporary or periodic insanity is claimed, the affected person’s condition at the time of marriage governs whether or not his or her possessed the legal capacity to marry. A marriage will not be annulled if it was entered into during a "lucid" interval between episodes of temporary insanity.
  • Fraud: If one of the parties did not tell the truth, or misrepresented information in order to induce the other party to enter into the marriage, then the marriage may be annulled because of fraud.

(more…)

Annulment

What is an annulment?
An annulment is a legal order declaring that a marriage never existed. Annulments are rare and only granted in unusual circumstances.

On what grounds can I receive an annulment?
You may receive an annulment if:

  • You and your spouse are related as follows: parent/child, stepchild; grandparent/grandchild; aunt/nephew; uncle/niece.
  • You did not have the mental capacity to enter into a contract.
  • You were under the age of 16 when you entered into your marriage.
  • You were forced to enter into the marriage.
  • You were fraudulently induced to enter into the marriage.
  • Your spouse was married to another living spouse at the time you entered into the marriage.

May I be granted an annulment if I have only been married a short time?
No. The fact that you and your spouse have only been married a short time is not a proper ground for an annulment. If you do not satisfy one of the conditions listed above, then you must file a petition for divorce to dissolve your marriage.

(more…)

Divorce, Annulment and Paternity Information from the Judicial Branch of Georgia

The following information is from the self-help resources online at the Judicial Branch of Georgia’s website:

Divorce and Legal Separation

A divorce ends your marriage. After you get divorced, you will be single, and you can marry again. If you get divorced, you can ask the judge for orders like child support, spousal support, custody and visitation, domestic violence restraining orders, division of property, and other orders.

Although the procedure and most of the issues involved are the same, a legal separation does not end a marriage. You can’t marry someone else if you are legally separated (and not divorced). A legal separation is for couples that do not want to get divorced but want to live apart. The court order generally defines the rights and responsibilities of the spouses between each other while living apart. Couples sometimes prefer separation for religious reasons.

Filing for divorce

You must file your petition for divorce with the Superior Court. In most cases, this will be the county in which the defendant resides. Title 19 Chapter 5 of the Georgia Code describes the specific details your petition must include. Click here to go to a site where you can search the Georgia Code. O.C.G.A. §19-5-5 lists all the items that are required to be included in the petition.

The grounds for the divorce have to be in the complaint/petition.The Georgia statutes list thirteen grounds for divorce. Most divorces are granted on the no-fault grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The twelve other fault grounds may be found in O.C.G.A.§19-5-3.

(more…)