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How Do You Get an Annulment in California?

While the terms annulment and divorce are thrown around interchangeably, this is a common misunderstanding. An annulment voids a marriage, meaning once it has been finalized, that marriage never existed in the first place. A divorce ends a marriage that exists. Today, we discuss how to get an annulment in the state of California.

Establish Your Reason for an Annulment

The first step for obtaining an annulment is to determine your reason for wanting one. There are certain reasons why a judge will allow a request to annul a marriage. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Fraud
  • Bigamy
  • One spouse was found to be under the age of 18
  • Impotence
  • Related (the married couple is related by blood)
  • Force
  • Marriage was entered into under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol

It is important to note that the spouse who requests the annulment must have burden of proof to show the judge he/she has a valid reason for doing so.

The Process of Filing for an Annulment

The process of obtaining an annulment is similar to the process of divorce. If you are married and currently live in California, you can file your annulment in the state. However, unlike a divorce, there is no residency requirement to file for an annulment. Here are the steps to obtain an annulment:

  • Schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer
  • Complete your court forms (there are additional forms if you have kids)
  • Write a declaration explaining why you would like an annulment, showing burden of proof
  • Have your attorney review all your documents
  • Make copies of all your paperwork
  • File your forms with the court clerk and pay the filling fee
  • Serve your spouse the documents (you cannot do so yourself, but you can hire someone to do this for you)
  • File your proof of service and wait 30 days for your spouse to respond
  • Ask for a court hearing and attend it
  • An annulment will be awarded or denied

Is There a Time Limitation to File for an Annulment in California?

There are time limitations to file for an annulment in California. These are as follows:

If you are filing due to being underage at the time of the marriage, you have within 4 years after you turn 18.

If you are filing due to bigamy, you and your spouse can file for an annulment at any point if you or your spouse’s spouse from the first marriage is still alive.

If you are filing due to fraud, you have within 4 years to do so from the time you first uncovered the instances of fraud.

If you are filing due to having an unsound mind, you can file at any time before you or your spouse die.

If you are filing because you were forced to consent to your marriage, you have within 4 years of being married.

If you are filing due to impotence, you must do so within 4 years of getting married.

Reach out online or call our office at (951) 779-1610 to schedule a consultation to discuss your annulment with an experienced lawyer at our firm.