Annulments have the dubious honor of being one of the most well known, but most misunderstood legal terms when it comes to divorce and family law in New Jersey. Unlike divorce, annulments may only be granted based on wrongdoing, illegal actions, or other circumstances which cause a marriage to be illegitimate. There are also key differences between the legal rights of divorcing spouses and those who are seeking an annulment. As a further complication, many individuals may confuse religious annulments for formal legal annulments, which are considered entirely separately.
Today, our Hackensack divorce and family law attorneys will be defining annulments, reviewing the criteria to be granted an annulment in New Jersey, and discuss the differences between annulments, divorces, and religious annulments.
Annulments vs. Divorce in Bergen County NJ
Our Bergen County annulment attorneys find it easiest to explain annulments by comparing them to traditional divorce. Divorce and annulment are the two legal ways to terminate a marriage, but are very different. The three terms which may apply to our clients seeking to end a marriage in New Jersey include:
Annulments – when a couple is granted an annulment, it is legally as if there marriage never took place. Both former spouses may now legally say that they have never been married, and they are not responsible for, or entitled to, many of the usual considerations of a divorce such as alimony or marital property division. It is worth noting co-parents will still likely want to draft enforceable child custody and/or child support agreements as necessary.
Divorce – unlike annulments, divorces are the dissolution of a legal and proper marriage. A divorce will either involve a formal legal process, out of court mediation or arbitration, or some combination of the two in order to be formally resolved.
Religious annulments – another form of annulment takes places in many churches and other religious institutions. While this is important to many of our clients, we always remind our clients that they are purely religious in nature, and will not be considered valid from a legal standpoint.
Annulment Lawyers Paramus NJ
As mentioned in the previous section, annulments require that concrete evidence that the marriage was invalid to be presented in court. In other words, annulments are more difficult to achieve than divorces, and can only be granted in specific circumstances. Our Paramus annulment and divorce lawyers strive to prove on of the following was true in your marriage, which may be considered grounds for an annulments as per N.J.S.A. Section 2A34-1 causes for judgement of nullity:
- Either spouse was already married at the time when your marriage (the second marriage) took place
- The relationship is incestuous outside of the degree of relation allowed by law
- Impotence, infertility, or other sexual issues which were intentionally hidden from a spouse before a marriage and/or was not rectified during a marriage
- Either party was mentally unable to legally enter into a marriage due to disabilities, intoxication coercion, threats, and more
- When one or both spouses was underage at the time of the marriage
- Other reasons under the general equity jurisdiction of the New Jersey Superior Courts
Contact our Hackensack Divorce and Annulment Attorneys Today
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to fairly and successfully resolve their divorce and secure annulments in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Paramus, Ridgewood, Hackensack, Fort Lee, Teaneck, and the surrounding communities.
By practicing exclusively family law, our firm is able to provide highly knowledgeable and effective legal service in the legal issues that matter most to our clients, and have the potential to drastically affect their parental, legal, and financial futures for years to come.
To speak with a member of our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, mediation, arbitration, or an annulment, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.