Top Reasons to End a Marriage with an Annulment in NJ
Since most of the grounds for annulment vary from divorce, couples seeking an annulment in New Jersey may anticipate relief mixed with dashed hopes, but the advantages of annulment are clear.
Ending a marriage under any circumstances is gut-wrenching. Couples change over time, as do priorities and values gained from life events. Many couples experience divorce grief as if a death occurred in their family. In fact, people suffer the end of their marriage in the same stages of grief, namely, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And since being a couple has characteristics of a separate entity or being that forever disappears, spouses suffer loss. However, with an annulment, the parties to marriage end their marriage and treat it as if it never existed. Though many couples still experience the loss of what they thought they had, lifelong companionship, and a future together, the emotions may differ from divorce.
What are the Advantages of an Annulment in NJ?
Divorces feel like failures, while annulments appear like mistakes. Undoubtedly, people judge divorces as unsuccessful marriages, so divorce carries a social stigma. In addition, the financial burden of a divorce consists of dividing households in two and paying alimony and child support. In an annulment, spousal maintenance is uncommon. Typically, the marriage is short-lived, thereby reducing the chances that alimony is necessary. And finally, annulments allow individuals to continue practicing their faith within a religion that frowns on divorce. For example, the Catholic church considers divorce a sin, and thus, an individual seeking remarriage in the Catholic church may not be able to do so. However, the church does not view annulments the same and therefore does not prohibit church marriages to those with annulments.
Annulment is a less complicated process, even though the grounds for getting one are limited. Since a marriage qualified for annulment is usually short, and the court treats the marriage as never having taken place, there is no property division through the family court. Nevertheless, the parties to an annulment may resolve property disputes in civil court on a contract theory. For example, when two people agree to share households, including furnishings and items purchased in anticipation of married life, they may be held to their promises of sharing expenses or reimbursing one party for laying out the costs of what would have been marital property. Moreover, the terms of a prenuptial agreement do not apply since those agreements are relevant to divorces. Thus, if you agreed to divide your assets in a prenuptial agreement, that agreement does not apply to an annulment. And if children from the relationship exist, the court may order child support and alimony.
Reasons Supporting Annulment instead of Divorce
Unlike the grounds for divorce, such as irreconcilable differences, adultery, extreme cruelty, desertion, alcohol addiction, incarceration, deviant sexual behavior, and institutionalism, annulment grounds are fewer. The reasons for marital rescission pertain to the underlying marital qualities, such as trust, honesty, communication, and faithfulness. Thus, to get a New Jersey annulment, you can prove that your spouse deceived you in some way. For example, bigamy supports annulment. If your spouse is a bigamist, they already have a living spouse unbeknownst to you at the time of your marriage. Another cause for annulling a marriage is duress. If you married under the threat of extreme violence, you might seek an annulment. You must prove that you married under pressure, meaning you feared severe harm to yourself or others. For example, your spouse may have threatened to beat you or your children unless you married them.
Fraud is another reason to get an annulment. To prove fraud, you must be able to show your spouse made material representations about themselves that would have deterred you from marrying them had you known the truth. For example, your spouse represents they share your faith and want to raise children in that faith but after marriage, they do not wish to have children and practice a different religion than yours. Other common fraudulent representations at the time of marriage include a spouse’s drug or alcohol addiction, pregnancy, or immigration status. For example, one spouse may secretly marry to stay in the country or to find a father for their baby. Other grounds revolve around the capacity to marry, such as being underage or unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incapacity. Also, incest or blood relative marriages and those that cannot be consummated due to impotence or refusal to have sex are grounds for annulment.
How to File for an Annulment in New Jersey
To obtain an annulment, you must begin by petitioning the court for an annulment. The party starts the process by filing a complaint to annul with the court and serving it on the other party by a qualified process server or disinterested person over 18. If the spouses agree to the annulment, they may acknowledge service in writing and alleviate the need for formal service of process. Since property division is separate from the annulment, the process may take shorter than a divorce unless one party contests the annulment or child support and custody are an issue. Unlike divorce, the finalization of the process, a judgment of annulment, allows the parties to remarry right away. Whether the complaint is contested or uncontested, you are encouraged to seek help from an experienced family law attorney to obtain an annulment successfully.
Knowing which papers to file and how to prove your grounds for annulment is complicated. You would need to convince a judge that you met the burden of proof to rescind the marriage, which may be challenging for the layperson. New Jersey courts have specific rules of procedure depending on the intended goal. As such, the process for obtaining an annulment has particular rules for filing papers with the court. Ignorance of the procedural requirements can delay your final judgment for months, if not years. Not only that, but failing to properly support your request for an annulment with valid reasons can mean the process proves unfruitful in the end. None of these outcomes is worth the risk of not having an experienced family lawyer handling things on your behalf.
Want to get an Annulment in New Jersey? Talk to a Lawyer Now
Consult a skilled and knowledgeable family attorney at Bronzino Law Firm to ascertain whether you have grounds for an annulment and what is necessary to get started with the process in your case. Get the advice you need to assure yourself that you are doing the right thing and can restart your life with a clean slate. Our firm assists clients with annulments, divorces, and civil dissolutions throughout Ocean and Monmouth County, including Jackson, Barnegat, Rumson, Point Pleasant, Toms River, Waretown, and Lavallette. When you enlist our help, you find an attorney who makes you feel safe and respected, a true professional who listens and fights for you.
Talk through your options and entrust your case to a qualified family law annulment attorney by calling (732) 812-3102 or setting up an appointment at one of our offices in Brick and Seagirt, NJ today. We offer free consultations and a member of our staff is available to assist you immediately.