Is an Annulment Legal in Florida?

Annulment.jpgFlorida marriages can be formally terminated either by divorce or by an annulment. Most everybody knows the basics of divorce, but few people are knowledgeable on the basics of annulments.

Annulments in Florida are not governed by statute or rule. Instead, it is a common law action in equity to terminate a void or voidable marriage. A marriage may be annulled for any cause that has prevented the parties from contracting a valid marriage.

As a Jacksonville 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.

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 Florida, it is important to discuss your particular situation with a Jacksonville Family Law Attorney.

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