A Florida appellate court recently affirmed a Palm Beach county judge’s decision to order the annulment of marriage upon the request of an incapacitated senior’s guardian. The court declared void the marriage of the 85-year old gentleman, citing the man’s lack of legal capacity to enter into a marriage without first obtaining the court’s approval.
Florida statutes contain clear provisions on dissolution of marriage or divorce, but not on annulment. While both divorce and annulment result in the end of a marriage, the legal process of annulment is more complex than obtaining a divorce.
In annulment, a court finds that the marriage is void and treats the marriage as if it never legally existed. A spouse requesting for annulment must be able to establish that a ground exists for the court to declare a marriage void.
Some of the common grounds for annulment can be found in decisions of appellate courts and often have to do with any of the following:
- Sham or fraudulent marriage, such as when parties who do not intend to be married pretend to marry in order to achieve an illegal purpose.
- Failure to consummate a marriage through sexual relations between the spouses
- Legal incapacity to marry due to age, existence of a prior marriage, or lack of prior court approval for persons under guardianship
- Duress which prevented one party from freely consenting to the marriage
- Mental incapacity
In the case of the 85-year old gentleman whose marriage was annulled, the appellate court reiterated the rule that persons under guardianship require the court’s prior approval before they can contract marriages.
Role of Annulment Attorney
Annulment proceedings are complicated and require the assistance of experienced legal counsel who can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your marriage in order to determine whether a legal ground for annulment exists. It is possible for your attorney to determine that your marriage does not have sufficient basis for an annulment but may still be terminated through the legal process of dissolution.
Initiating the appropriate proceedings to end a marriage can save valuable time and resources; it is important to consult an experienced attorney before taking steps to end a marriage.
In Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties, Florida, the Anton Legal Group has over 30 years of annulment experience, helping families start new lives after the end of a marriage. Our attorneys will negotiate marital and post marital issues whenever possible, and aggressively represent you in litigation if necessary.
We welcome your call at (813) 443-5249 to arrange a no-obligation case analysis.