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What is the Difference Between An Annulment and Divorce In California?

At the Land Legal Group, our Los Angeles divorce attorneys understand how difficult dissolving a marriage can be, whether you have been married for six months, six years, or even decades.

In the State of California, there are two ways to legally end a marriage — which are dictated by the circumstances of the union — and include annulment or divorce.

What Is A Divorce?

Divorce is the legal dissolution, termination, and end of a legally valid marriage.

Who Can Initiate A Divorce In California?

Either spouse may initiate divorce proceedings in California since it is a no-fault divorce state.

No-fault divorce states do not require either spouse to prove the other did something wrong.

One spouse must simply state a reason for the divorce, which can include irreconcilable differences.

What Is An Annulment?

An annulment is a legal procedure that cancels a marriage by completely and legally erasing its existence. Annulments declare that the marriage was never valid, nor technically existed.

Who Can Initiate An Annulment In California?

An annulment can be initiated by either spouse in California.

However, the spouse who initiates an annulment must prove that he or she has legitimate grounds to nullify the marriage.

Common reasons to pursue an annulment can include:

  • Forced Consent: One spouse forced or threatened the other into a marriage
  • Underage Marriage: Either spouse was too young to enter marriage without court approval or parental consent
  • Fraud: One spouse agreed to the marriage based on misrepresentation or lies
  • Mental Illness: Either spouse was emotionally disturbed or mentally ill or at the time of the marriage
  • Mental Incapacity: Either spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was unable to make informed consent at the time of the marriage
  • Bigamy: Either party was already married to another at the time of the marriage
  • Incest: Marriage between parties who are related, which is deemed unlawful
  • Inability to Commit to Sexual Relations: Either spouse was physically incapable of having sex or was impotent during their marriage

Whether you are seeking a divorce or an annulment in California, you must ensure your rights are protected during the proceedings.

Other important details that may surface, depending on your marriage dissolution, can include distribution of the marital assets and debts, spousal support, child custody, and child support, which should never be left to chance.

You should never have to face a divorce or annulment alone. Allow our Los Angeles family law attorneys to review your case during a free consultation by calling 310-552-3500 today. We will ease the stress of your proceedings and allow you to confidently focus on your future.

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