Florida marriages can be formally terminated either by divorce or by an annulment. An annulment is sometimes preferred because it is accompanied by a church annulment procedure. A decree annulling a marriage is grounded on the fact that a valid marriage never existed, either because the marriage was void, or voidable.
As a Jacksonville Beach Family Law Attorney, I am often asked whether an annulment will be granted if a marriage was induced by fraud. Because Florida does not have an official statutory annulment provision, this question is difficult to answer. Courts will have to look at the totality of the circumstances and evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis. There is no certainty that a Judge in the Jacksonville area will grant an annulment in lieu of a divorce.
However, some examples of situations when Florida Courts have granted an annulment include: (1) when it is in the best interest of an underage child; (2) when it can be proved that one of the parties lacked the capacity to contract; or (3) when the parties lack the physical capacity to consummate the marriage.
Despite the fact that the contesting party may prove one of these defects in the marriage, an annulment still may be denied. If this occurs, a separate divorce action will likely need to be filed and the process starts all over.
If you are considering an annulment or divorce in the Jacksonville Beach, Florida area, it is important to discuss your particular situation with a Jacksonville Beach Family Law Attorney. Feel free to contact me anytime so we can schedule a free consultation.