What is an annulment and how do I get one? Find out the answers to this and other New Jersey annulments FAQs:
What is an annulment?
An annulment is a judgment by the court that states your marriage never existed. It is obtained by filing a complaint for annulment, which is similar to the complaint for divorce. However, if your marriage is annulled, it means that it never happened, rather than if you are divorced, which indicates the marriage happened, but is now dissolved.
How do I obtain an annulment in New Jersey?
In order to obtain an annulment, you must prove the grounds for annulment to the court. They are: bigamy or polygamy (you or your spouse was already legally married to another), family relationship with your spouse (you married your first cousin), impotency and the failure to consummate the marriage; lack of capacity (you could not mentally make the decision to get married), fraud or coercion (you were lied to by your spouse about important information or you were forced into marriage) or being a minor at the time you got married, without proper permission from the court. The grounds for annulment apply to same sex marriage and/or civil unions, except for the impotency or failure to consummate the marriage ground.
It is worth noting that it is much more difficult to obtain an annulment than a divorce in New Jersey, because you must prove at least one of the grounds listed above. Weigh the positives and negatives of asking for an annulment rather than a divorce, and consult with an attorney who is experienced in annulments.
What is a Catholic annulment?
Catholic annulment means that you and your spouse were never married in the sacramental sense. You would start this process with your parish and archdiocese. During the process, both spouses are given the opportunity to respond in detail and to present their case for why they believe the marriage was valid or not. You may bring witnesses and you have the opportunity to read and review your spouse’s case and respond to it. There will also be a tribunal member assigned to server in the case as the “Defender of the (Marriage) Bond.” Some common reasons for annulment in the Catholic Church are: at least one partner did not fully and freely consent to the marriage, someone wasn’t mature enough to understand the full extent of marriage, there was never intent to be faithful or one or both partners did not intend to be open to children. Remember, a Catholic annulment has no legal bearing on your marriage. If you wish to legally end your marriage, you mustfile for divorce and/or annulment with the court system.
How long does an annulment take in New Jersey?
This depends on whether or not your spouse fights the annulment and whether or not there is a dispute over children or property. Since an annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed, no marital property division takes place (equitable distribution). However, you may still be able to divide property based upon traditional contract law. The courts, in an annulment, have the power to decide custody and spousal support issues. If there are no issues in dispute, an annulment can be granted in a matter of a few months.
How long do I have to annul a marriage in New Jersey?
There is no defined time period for an annulment; however, annulments are generally used in very short term marriages.
How long after my annulment must I wait to get married?
There is no waiting period. Once your annulment is granted, you can remarry immediately.
How much does an annulment cost in New Jersey?
The cost can vary, like with divorce, and depends on if your spouse contests the annulment or fights you on issues of custody, spousal support or any other relief you may be seeking in the annulment. If your spouse and you agree and have no issues for the judge to decide, your annulment proceeding will cost less.