Tag Archives: marriage

When is it too Late to Annul a Marriage in California?

when-is-it-too-late-to-annul-a-marriageFiling for an annulment rather than a divorce can be a complicated process. An annulment has the expressed goal of deeming the marriage invalid, and thus, wiping it from the record as if it never existed. A divorce, on the other hand, is when two parties agree to end a marriage through the process of divorce. While divorces can happen at anytime, and there is no limitations on when one can file for divorce, in the state of California, annulments do have deadlines. How long you can be married and still annul a marriage in California depends entirely on the reasons that are being used for an annulment.

Minors Who Marry 

If one or both of the parties in the marriage are under the age of 18, they can file for an annulment with this as a reason. If the minor is still under 18 at the time of the annulment request a parent or legal guardian can file the request. After the individual turns 18 he or she has 4 years from their 18th birthday to file for an annulment. From the age of 22 onward, a divorce petition must be filed, instead.


Bigamy is the act of getting married while another, legal marriage still exists. In the case of bigamy, the second marriage is considered null and void, but the process of annulment must still be carried out. For an annulment on the grounds of bigamy both parties must be alive at the time of the proceedings. There is no time limit on when one can file for an annulment due to bigamy. The current spouse, or the pre-existing spouse can file.


Fraud is the most commonly used reason for an annulment request. Fraud, in this case, can be defined as one partner deceiving the other into the marriage. Fraud can be considered one partner telling the other that they’d like to have children when they do not. Fraud can also be defined as the withholding of important information that would have caused the marriage to never happen. The party who has been the victim of fraud must file for the annulment, and it must be within four years of discovering the fraud. Fraud, in certain circumstances, can be difficult to prove.


Force, in terms of an annulment, is the act of forcing one party to commit and consent to the marriage. This can happen when one party feels obligated to another, or when a minor enters into a partnership with an older individual. When force is being used as the reason for divorce, the one forced into the marriage must be the individual to file. An annulment because of force, must be filed within four years of entering into the marriage.

Physical Incapacitation 

An annulment of a marriage may be granted on the grounds of physical incapacity. That means, one party is no longer able to live up to their marital duties, or never was. For example, impotence can be considered a physical incapacity, however, the party asking for the divorce must prove that she was unaware of the physical disability at the time of the marriage. One can file for an annulment on these grounds as long as the marriage is no more than 4 years old.

Unsound Mind 

Under this reason, one party must prove that the other party is of unsound mind, or a conservator must prove that the individual was not of sound mind to consent to the marriage. This type of annulment can take place at any time during the marriage, as long as both parties are still living.

What is a Prenup?

Once upon a time couples who married stayed married, but that simply is not the case anymore. what-is-a-prenupDivorce has become increasingly common, and because of this, many people now feel it is necessary to protect themselves and their assets from the possibility of their marriage ending in divorce. Prenuptial agreements are one way to do just that. A Prenuptial agreement, sometimes called a prenup, is a contract that outlines what will happen in the case of a divorce. They usually focus on the division of property and assets, and often times outline any alimony or support settlements in the case of divorce.

The stipulations of a prenuptial agreement are unique to each couple. For example, some agreements have further clauses that change settlement amounts if adultery is the cause of the dissolution of the marriage. Prenups can also make arrangements in the event of one’s death rather than in the event of a divorce. Prenups stipulations will depend almost entirely on the couple in question and what they consider valuable as they enter into a marriage.

What are the Requirements for a Prenup?

In the United States a prenuptial agreement is considered valid, and it is recognized in every state, however, not all prenuptial agreements are enforced, and some have found ways to have prenups thrown out or invalidated in court. In order to be considered a valid contract it must meet the following requirements;

  • The prenuptial agreement must be written. Oral contracts are not enforceable.
  • Both parties must sign the contract voluntarily in front of counsel who can attest that both parties entered into the contract willingly.
  • Both parties must be completely informed of the others intentions and assets.
  • Both parties must sign the contract in front of a notary for it to be deemed valid.
  • The document must be signed prior to the issuing of the marriage license. ‘

Because of the requirements of the contract many agreements have been thrown out or deemed invalid when brought to court. Most commonly, people argue that the prenup was not entered into willingly, or that they were coerced to sign the agreement. Often times one party can also argue that they were not offered full disclosure by the other party at the time of the agreement, thus making it invalid.

When Do Couples Need Prenups?

Some will argue that a prenup is only intended for the very rich or very famous as they are the people who need to protect their assets from a divorce. Well, that’s not exactly the case. Some lawyers argue that every couple should have a prenup. Simply put, divorces are messy. Whether you are going through a divorce a year into the marriage of 15 years into the marriage, you should want to make the process as smooth as possible, and prenups do just that. Not to mention, just because you aren’t rich today, doesn’t mean you won’t be rich someday. Today’s waiter may turn into tomorrow’s best seller, today’s college dropout may turn into tomorrow’s technology tycoon. Fact of the matter is that you never know where you will be or how your marriage will pan out, so it is best to protect yourself at the onset and ensure if your marriage ends it can end amicably, or at least, with the least amount of hassle.