My spouse cheated. Can I file for an annulment?
Experienced Divorce and Annulment Attorney Ocean and Monmouth County
After wading through the immediate feelings of sadness, anger, and betrayal, one must determine how to proceed.
Learning that your spouse was unfaithful is a dramatic event that can cause a total upheaval of your mental and emotional wellbeing, and change the course of your life. After wading through the immediate feelings of sadness, anger, and betrayal, one must determine how to proceed. If the cheating will result in a separation, the question becomes ‘do we get a divorce or an annulment?’ To answer this question, one must get clear on the difference between a divorce and an annulment.
What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?
Both a divorce and an annulment legally end a marriage. A divorce, however, is a separation following a legally-acknowledged marriage. A divorce involves the separation of assets and facilitates the process of the closing of the legally-binding contract. An annulment, however, is a cancellation of marriage on grounds that it was never valid. Therefore, the marriage never existed, and so the court-appointed separation process of dividing marital assets is not a legal right.
What are the legal grounds for annulment?
There are a number of legal grounds for annulment in New Jersey. Obtaining an annulment is more difficult than obtaining a divorce because a very specific set of circumstances needs to be proven to show that the marriage was not solidly valid on legal grounds. Below are some of the cases for annulment in New Jersey:
- Fraud is a misrepresentation of the facts. If your spouse covered information about themselves or their life, you may have grounds to file for an annulment. The fraud does not have to be directly related to your decision to marry your partner, though such cases for annulment have a stronger standing in court. Some examples include a spouse telling you they are pregnant with your child when they are not, influencing your decision to marry; lying about children from a prior relationship; or telling you clearly that they wanted to have children and then changing their mind after marriage.
- Duress means that one partner was forced to go through with a legally-binding matrimony against their will. This is obviously illegal and may result in an annulment. If a partner felt at any time that they were in danger of physical harm unless they committed to marriage, it is important to consult a divorce attorney for a confidential assessment.
- Bigamy is marriage to more than one person, which is illegal in New Jersey. If two people get married and one learns afterward that the other is secretly married, they have the legal right to file for an annulment and cancel the marriage on the grounds of its invalidity.
- Underage marriage in New Jersey means that one or both partners were not of legal age at the time of marriage, which is 18 years old. If you learn that your partner was not of age, you have legal grounds to file for an annulment with the New Jersey Superior Court.
- Impotence and the withholding of this information from a partner in order to go through with a marriage could be grounds for annulment. If one partner knows that they do not have the ability to procreate and either refuse to consummate the marriage or withhold information regarding their impotence from their partner, the marriage could be ruled invalid.
- It is illegal in New Jersey to marry a family member. As such, if partners learn they are related by blood, they may file for annulment with the court system, which will legally cancel the marriage.
- Incapacity means that one or both members of the couple was under the influence of alcohol or drugs that clouded their judgment or were otherwise not mentally fit to enter into a legally binding agreement. This couple potentially be grounds for annulment.
Can I have my marriage annulled after my partner cheats?
If your partner cheats as part of one of the above named legal grounds for annulment, you can approach the New Jersey Superior Court to submit a Complaint for Annulment. An example of this could be hiding a pregnancy with another person or being secretly married. It is important to schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney to learn your rights and options for moving forward with an annulment.
Contact an Ocean County Divorce and Annulment Lawyer Today
At Bronzino Law Firm, LLC, our divorce attorneys are experienced in supporting our clients across Sea Girt, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Brick, and the greater Ocean County, NJ in all annulment and divorce matters.