If you wish to terminate your marriage legally, an annulment is one of the ways you can do so. Apart from ending your marital union, an annulment means that your marriage never existed in the eyes of the law. In simpler terms, the law acknowledges that you never got married when you annul your marriage. So, if that is what you want, you must visit your North Carolina divorce lawyer as soon as you can.
To get an annulment in North Carolina, you will have to file an annulment lawsuit. Usually, your attorney will file the case in the county that your partner resides in. However, filing for annulment in court doesn’t guarantee that the judges will grant your request. Sometimes, the courts will reject your case if you can’t prove specific facts.
As such, you must only file an annulment claim in court when you’re sure about your eligibility status. We’ll let you in on the requirements for annulment in North Carolina. First, however, you must consult with your family law attorney to get personalized advice for your case.
What’s the Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce?
It’s pretty easy to think that annulment and divorce mean the same thing. That’s because both terms signify the end of a marriage. However, in legal terminology, they have different meanings and are not synonyms at all.
First, while an annulment invalidates a marriage as though it never happened, a divorce recognizes that your marriage was valid. That is, unlike an annulment, a divorce only terminates a marriage but doesn’t nullify it. So, when you annul your wedding, you can truthfully say that you were never married. However, with divorce, you can acknowledge that you got married once, and the terms “ex-husband or ex-wife” becomes appropriate.
Secondly, while a court can grant a divorce on a no-fault basis in North Carolina, it’s different from an annulment. If you wish to nullify your marriage, you must prove that your marriage was void or voidable. A void marriage happens when a spouse is married to someone else while also married to you. On the other hand, a voidable marriage includes situations involving incest, fraud, minors, etc.
Who Qualifies for an Annulment in North Carolina?
As examined above, you’re only eligible for annulment when you can prove a void or voidable marriage. We’ve discussed more on them below:
When a marriage is void, it is invalid and illegal from the beginning, and nothing can change it. That is, even without a court’s verdict, the marriage was never acceptable in the first place. However, for the sake of it, the courts will annul the union to uphold the already existing facts.
Generally, a marriage is considered void when a partner has a prior and subsisting marriage. Such union is illegal because polygamy or bigamy is a crime in North Carolina. So, in a void marriage, the legal spouse can institute civil and criminal actions against the erring partner.
Unlike a void marriage, voidable marriages are legally valid until a competent court annuls them. If both partners decide to continue a voidable marriage, the law will validate the union. The court will only revoke this type of marriage if a party so wishes. The following are examples of a voidable marriage:
- Where the couple are blood relations
- Where at the least one spouse is under the age of 16
- Marriages based on false pretenses or misrepresentations
- Where a party was mentally incapable of consenting to the marriage
The Effects of Annulment
An annulment terminates a marriage as though there weren’t any in the first place. So, neither party gets spousal support, equitable distribution, and alimony is not available for annulled marriages. However, they can get child support and deliberate on child custody if there are children of the marriage.
Talk With a Reliable Charlotte Family Lawyer Immediately!
Whether you’re getting a divorce or an annulment, it’s not easy getting separated from someone you’ve shared your life with. But, regardless of the reason for your decision, it would help if you had someone to share your burdens with. As such, you need an attorney who will understand your situation while providing you with the legal help you need.
That’s why you must only consult with our reliable Charlotte family law attorneys at Waple and Houk. At our law firm, we have the best attorneys to guarantee a smooth and stress-free annulment process for you. We understand how delicate your situation is, so we’ll handle your case with the utmost discretion. So call us today to get an opportunity to review your case with one of our experienced lawyers for free.