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What’s The Difference Between an Annulment and an Uncontested Divorce in California?

Married couples seeking to dissolve their marriage often times wonder if an annulment is possible.  That’s because annulments are still widely misunderstood.  In fact, annulments and divorces are very different legal means to ending marriages. 

Here is a look at the specific differences between an uncontested divorce and an annulment


Annulment in Southern California

In California, an annulment will only be granted if the marriage was deemed to be invalid from the beginning.  That is, the marriage was never a valid, legally binding marriage to begin with.  Reasons that a marriage may be found to be invalid, and thus an annulment may be granted include:

  • One of the parties perpetrated fraud to secure the other party’s consent to marry
  • The couple is related by blood
  • Marriage was entered into when a party was mentally or physically incapacitated or has an incurable physical incapacity
  • One or both spouses were forced into the marriage
  • A spouse was too young to legally marry
  • One party was already married to another person
  • One party was of unsound mind at the time of the marriage (extreme intoxication is included)

In California, the party seeking the annulment will have the burden of proving to the judge that one or more of these circumstances were at play, thus the marriage should never have been legalized in the first place.  If the party seeking the annulment cannot prove this burden, the marriage will not be annulled in Southern California.

For parties granted an annulment in California, it’s important to note that the parties involved are responsible for dividing property, including all assets and debts. California’s community property laws will not protect either party in the event that an annulment is granted. Spousal support will not be determined nor enforced by the courts in an annulment.   More detailed information about obtaining an annulment in California may be found by clicking here.  


Uncontested Divorce in Southern California

Ultimately, divorces and annulments in Southern California have very little in common.  They do both effectively terminate a marriage, but for all intents and purposes, that’s where the similarities end.  An annulment effectively declares that what appeared to be a marriage never really existed.  A divorce (contested or uncontested) declares that an existing valid marriage is now over. 

In an uncontested divorce in greater Los Angeles, both parties have successfully come to an agreement regarding how property, debts, assets, and/or custody will be divided.  The marriage was legal and binding, and now both parties have decided to not only dissolve the marriage, but they have agreed on how all property will be divided and allocated.   

If you’ve reached agreement on these items, the only thing left to do is to handle the paperwork with the courts.  This is precisely where the family law attorneys at Simply Divorced can help.  From start to finish, we complete all of your divorce paperwork, ensuring accuracy and timeliness to prevent delays, in order to help you to obtain an uncontested divorce as quickly as possible in the Southern California court system.

If you’re ready to move forward with your uncontested divorce in California, contact us today to schedule a consultation.