Annulment Attorney in North Carolina
People sometimes get married for the wrong reasons. When a couple gets married before they have a chance to get to know each other, as a result of a pregnancy or false promises, it may be possible to get that marriage erased. If you feel you have been misled or have been fraudulently coerced into marriage, you may have questions about whether you would qualify for an annulment.
Attorney Charles R. Ullman concentrates his legal practice on family law matters including legal separation, divorce, annulment and other family law matters. Charles has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals who are going through the steps to end or void their marriage. He is certified by the North Carolina State Board as a Specialist in Family Law.
If you have questions about whether you may receive an annulment, consider Charles R. Ullman & Associates. Charles Ullman will take the time necessary to understand your family circumstances and determine whether you are eligible to obtain an annulment under North Carolina civil law.
What is an Annulment?
An annulment is a legal process through which a married couple can receive a court decree, voiding their marriage. When a marriage is annulled, it is the same as if it never happened.
Some people wish to consider getting an annulment to avoid any social stigma that some attach to divorce in North Carolina. However, North Carolina law provides only a limited number of circumstances under which a marriage may be annulled.
A legal annulment is a legal process than is handled by the civil court. It’s not a shortcut to ending a marriage however. It’s a complicated legal process with specific requirements that must be met.
How to Qualify for an Annulment in North Carolina
A married couple in North Carolina can have their marriage annulled in North Carolina only under the following narrow circumstances:
- The marriage was between two people who are closer than first cousins
- The marriage was between double first cousins
- The marriage was between two people, one of whom was under age 16, unless allowed by a court order due to pregnancy
- One member of the married couple already had a living spouse from an earlier marriage at the time of marriage
- The marriage was between two people, either of whom was physically impotent
- The marriage was between two people either of whom was mentally incompetent or incapable of understanding the marriage vows.
A marriage is not considered valid if it involves a minor under the age of 16. However, should a minor under the age of 16 get married and become pregnant or have a baby, the only way his or her marriage can be annulled is if his or her baby has been declared deceased at the time when the request to annul has been made.
A marriage is not considered valid between two people who are either closer in relation than first cousins or who are double first cousins.
Double first cousins occur when two siblings in one family reproduce with two siblings with another family. The resulting children are related through both of their parents.
Bigamy, impotence and mental incompetence are grounds in which a marriage can be considered legally void.
How is an Annulment Different from a Divorce?
Both an annulment and a divorce are legal procedures to terminate a marriage. However, only a small share of marriages are eligible for annulment under North Carolina civil law.
An annulment declares that the marriage contract was never valid or is voidable. After an annulment, you are unmarried.
A divorce is a dissolution of a valid marriage. The divorce decree states that the marriage is no longer valid from the effective date onward. Your status is ‘divorced” after you are granted a divorce.
If your spouse had an adulterous affair, abused drugs or alcohol or abandoned you, you may obtain a divorce. But these factors are not recognized as grounds of an annulment.
The court does not consider requests for alimony or spousal support as part of an annulment since no legal union ever existed.
Ending a marriage stirs up a lot of emotions, even if the split is fairly amicable. It’s helpful to have an attorney who understands what you are experiencing and who can provide guidance based on years of experience handling annulments and divorces.
Our compassionate family law attorneys at Charles Ullman & Associates can meet with you and discuss whether a divorce petition or an annulment procedure is appropriate in your situation.
How Long Can You Be Married and Still Get an Annulment in North Carolina?
Some people mistakenly assume that the length of the marriage is a factor in determining the eligibility for an annulment in North Carolina. There is no annulment period in N.C.
Whether you have been married a few hours, a few days or a few weeks makes no difference in whether you may qualify for a legal annulment. Having misgivings immediately after getting married is not grounds for an annulment. There is no period of time used to determine eligibility for an annulment.
Only the factors listed above under How to Qualify are grounds for an annulment.
A Raleigh annulment attorney at Charles Ullman & Associates can help you understand whether your circumstances qualify for an annulment.
What is the Difference Between a Void Marriage and Voidable Marriage?
If you are considering an annulment, it is important to understand the difference between a voidable marriage and a void marriage. Since they sound similar, they can be confusing.
A voidable marriage requires that you to ask the court to issue an annulment to end the marriage.
A void marriage, on the other hand, does not require going to court and receiving an annulment. The state of North Carolina does not recognize a void marriage as ever having been valid.
For example, it’s unlawful in North Carolina to be married to two people at the same time. If a marriage involves a spouse who is already legally married to someone else, North Carolina law considers it a bigamous marriage. That is an invalid or void marriage. A void marriage was never legally valid.
Even so, it may be helpful to go through the legal step to have the court declare the marriage void to clarify your marital status in the future and prevent disputes about property ownership.
If you believe your marriage is invalid, you should seek trusted guidance from a Raleigh family law attorney.
Where Do I Go to Get an Annulment in N.C.?
Legal annulments are handled in District Court in North Carolina.
A legal annulment is entirely separate from a religious annulment that can only be granted by a church. A religious annulment does not change your legal marital status. Only a legal annulment changes your marital status.
Wake County has a designated Family Court with judges who have special training in handling domestic law matters and in making decisions in accordance with state law. The same judge typically will handle your case throughout the process in Wake County.
It is important to work with a local attorney who is familiar with the Wake County Family Court rules and procedures.
What Would Make My Marriage Voidable?
For example, you may have a voidable marriage if you entered into marriage based on the woman’s claim that she was pregnant and then discovered that she was not pregnant.
A marriage can be voided if it was contracted upon the belief that the female was pregnant, as long as the couple separated within 45 days of the marriage ceremony, remained separated for at least 12 months and no child was born within 10 months of the date of separation.
You also may qualify for annulment with a doctor’s diagnosis that your spouse was physically impotent when the marriage was entered.
To obtain an annulment, you must file an N.C. annulment form in the county where your spouse resides and provide the court with evidence that your situation fits one of the circumstances listed in North Carolina law as reasons for an annulment.
The other party may dispute the evidence in court or agree to your request.
It is important to have an experienced Raleigh annulment lawyer advocating on your behalf in any legal proceeding before the court. Our attorneys can file the necessary N.C. annulment forms and represent you during court proceedings.
At Charles Ullman & Associates, our family lawyers have a detailed understanding of North Carolina family law and will use that to help you work through the difficult decisions involving the dissolution of a marriage.
Whether you seek an annulment or a divorce, you will benefit from having a knowledgeable family law attorney looking out for your interests during the process of ending a marriage. Our goal is to help you move forward with your life. Contact us online today to schedule a consultation.