Often parties in very short term marriages realize they made a mistake and want to have their marriage annulled. However, where a marriage is validly contracted it should not be dissolved other than by divorce, or by a decree of annulment supported by allegation and proof of recognized grounds for annulment of marriage. Unlike, Dissolution of Marriage, Annulment is not governed by statute or rule. It is a common law action in equity to terminate a void or voidable marriage.
What is a Void Marriage?
A void marriage is a marriage that was never valid from the start and cannot be made valid. Examples of void marriage are: Incestuous marriages which are prohibited by Florida Statute §741.21 ;
Also, and (much more common) is that a marriage is void if one of the parties to the marriage is already married. We see this happen when one party never had their prior divorce finalized.
What is a Voidable Marriage?
A voidable marriage is a marriage that is valid until declared invalid.
A marriage may be annulled for any cause which has prevented the parties from contracting a valid marriage. The invalidity of a marriage may arise from:
(1) a want of legal capacity to contract, or a statutory prohibition against the type of marriage in question,
(2) a want of mental capacity to contract,
(3) a lack of actual consent to the contract,
(4) a consent wrongfully procured by force, duress, fraud, or concealment, and
(5) a lack of physical capacity to consummate.
Sack v. Sack, 184 So.2d 434 (Fla. App. 3 Dist., 1966).
However, a marriage that has been consummated cannot be annulled for fraud, Brown v. Taylor, 889 So.2d 1016 (Fla. App., 2005).
At Weiner & Weiss, LLC, we handle annulment cases along with all other aspects of Florida Family Law.
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