Demystifying the Annulment Process: When and How Can a Marriage Be Annulled in Massachusetts

annulment in Massachusetts

Marriage annulment is a complex legal procedure that is often misunderstood by many. While divorce brings an end to a valid marriage, annulment goes a step further by declaring that the marriage never legally existed. In this article, we aim to demystify the annulment process, specifically in Massachusetts, shedding light on the intricacies involved. Furthermore, we’ll showcase how Sawin Law, P.C., with our expertise and experience, can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout this challenging process. Whether it’s understanding the legal requirements, navigating the paperwork, or representing your best interests, Sawin Law, P.C., is here to help you every step of the way.

When Can a Marriage Be Annulled?

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a marriage can be annulled on specific grounds, including bigamy, incest, fraud, duress, impotence, or mental incapacity. These grounds provide a legal framework that allows couples to dissolve their marriage under certain circumstances. However, it is essential to note that the court requires clear and substantial evidence to support these grounds for an annulment to be granted. This requirement ensures that the process is fair and just, safeguarding the integrity of the legal system.

The Annulment Process

To initiate the annulment process, you will need to file a “Complaint for Annulment” in the probate and family court for the county where either you or your spouse reside. This complaint should include comprehensive and detailed reasons for seeking an annulment, along with any supporting evidence that strengthens your case.

Once you have filed the complaint, the court will proceed to schedule a hearing where both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments. During this hearing, it is crucial to provide compelling evidence and persuasive arguments to support your claim.

Suppose the judge overseeing the case is convinced that the marriage is either void or voidable based on the evidence presented. In that case, they will ultimately issue an annulment decree, officially declaring the marriage null and void. This legal process ensures that the marriage is recognized as invalid from its inception as if it never legally existed.

It is important to consult with a family law attorney or seek legal advice to ensure you follow the correct procedures and understand the legal implications of seeking an annulment.

How Sawin Law, P.C. Can Help

The process of obtaining an annulment can be complex and emotionally draining. From gathering the necessary documentation to navigating the legal requirements, it can be overwhelming to go through it alone. That’s why having an experienced family law attorney by your side can make a significant difference.

At Sawin Law, P.C., our team of knowledgeable attorneys specializes in family law matters, including annulment cases. We understand the intricacies of the legal system and have a deep understanding of the emotional challenges that often accompany this process.

When you choose our firm, you can trust that we will provide you with the guidance and support you need. We will take the time to listen to your concerns, explain your legal options clearly, and develop a personalized strategy tailored to your unique situation.

With our expertise and commitment to client satisfaction, you can have peace of mind knowing that your annulment case is in capable hands. Let us help you navigate through this challenging time and ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.

The Benefits of Legal Assistance

Working with a highly skilled and experienced attorney, such as the dedicated professionals at Sawin Law, P.C., can significantly reduce stress levels and provide you with the peace of mind you deserve. Our team is well-versed in Massachusetts law, ensuring full compliance and offering expert guidance throughout the legal process.

Whether you’re facing complex legal complexities or require adequate case preparation, we are here to assist you every step of the way. From navigating the circumstances of your unique situation to representing your best interests in court, you can rely on us to provide comprehensive and reliable legal support.

Take the First Step Today

If you’re currently considering an annulment and find yourself in need of reliable legal advice, look no further than Sawin Law, P.C. Our dedicated team of experienced family law attorneys is here to assist you every step of the way throughout this intricate process.

With a deep understanding of the complexities involved in annulments, we are committed to providing personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation. Whether you have questions about the legal requirements, documentation, or the potential impact on your financial and personal matters, our team is ready to address all your concerns.

At Sawin Law, P.C., we believe in empowering our clients with knowledge and advocating for their best interests. That’s why we offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation where you can discuss your case with our attorneys and gain valuable insights into the annulment process.

To schedule your free consultation, contact us at (781) 713-1212. Our compassionate and skilled attorneys are here to listen, understand, and guide you toward the best possible outcome. Don’t navigate the complexities of annulment alone – let Sawin Law, P.C. be your trusted legal partner.

Annulments

Signing legal paperwork

Divorce vs. Annulment: How are they different?

In Massachusetts, married couples can seek to have their marriage ended either by divorce or annulment. While divorce continues to be more widely available and most appropriate in nearly all circumstances, spouses do have the possibility of obtaining an annulment. There are, however, significant differences between the two regarding procedural requirements and legal consequences.

So, what exactly is an annulment? An annulment is a way of ending a marriage because the marriage itself is invalid for some specific reason. Unlike a divorce, however, where the marriage is ended not because the marriage was invalid but simply because either one or both of the spouses wanted the marriage to end for some reason. Once a marriage has ended because of an annulment, the marriage is treated as if it never existed at all.

Most divorces granted in Massachusetts are based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Basically, that your marriage is so badly broken that there is no hope of reconciliation. On the other hand, annulments can only be granted in very limited situations and only when there is a specific defect in the marriage. From this there are two types of marriages that can end by annulment: void and voidable.

Void and Voidable Marriages

Only marriages that are void or voidable may qualify for an annulment. A void marriage never existed in the eyes of the law, and therefore it was invalid from the very beginning. Void marriages consist of the following circumstances:

  • The spouses are too closely related (incest)
  • One spouse was currently married at the time of the second marriage (bigamy)

Unlike a void marriage, one that is voidable could be ended by an annulment based on the circumstances, but it is not guaranteed. A voidable marriage means that a marriage could be invalid, not that it automatically is, but rather has the potential to become invalid. All void marriages can be annulled, but not all voidable marriages can be.

With a void marriage there is no way to repair the deficiency, the marriage is invalid from the very beginning simply by operation of law. However, a voidable marriage will continue in full force and effect until it becomes annulled.

A marriage may become annulled because it is voidable due to the following:

  • One spouse did not have mental capacity to consent to the marriage at the time it occurred (lack of mental capacity)
  • One of the spouses is not physically capable of sexual intercourse (impotence)
  • One of the spouses was not old enough to get married (underage)
  • There was fraud involved in getting married

If my marriage is void, do I still have to file for Annulment?

Since marriages that are void technically never existed in the first place, no action is needed to annul the marriage. However, in order to prove that your marriage is indeed annulled, and as a safety net, it is always a good idea to have the Probate and Family Court issue a formal Judgment voiding the marriage so there is no doubt as to the validity.

What happens to the minor children after an Annulment is granted?

Simply because a marriage has been annulled, it does not mean the birth certificates of the marital children become void as well. In most instances, the minor children will simply be treated as though the parents were divorced, however, in other situations, the children will be treated as if they were born to parents out of wedlock.

Always request to speak with an experienced Family Law attorney prior to making these types of legal decisions on your own. Sawin Law, P.C. is available at (781) 713-1212 to discuss your concerns about annulments or other divorce matters.