What is an annulment? The word gets thrown around a lot, but there is a huge difference between annulment and divorce. An annulment is a legal procedure that voids a marriage and declares it null from its inception. Annulments are possible, but usually pretty rare in the state of Georgia.
Georgia law doesn’t favor annulment. Courts look at annulment requests very skeptically and require a lot of strong proof. If you and your spouse already have children, or they are pregnant, you can’t get an annulment under Georgia law.
In Georgia, your marriage can be annulled if it is considered “void”, meaning that it is prohibited by law or never had the potential to be valid. There are certain grounds for annulment in Georgia and the only way it can be possible. The ground for annulment are as follows:
- One or both spouses was mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage ceremony
- One or both spouses was underage at the time of the marriage, and didn’t obtain a parent or guardians consent
- One or both spouses consented to the marriage only because of coercion or fraud exerted by another person
- One spouse is still legally married to another living person
- The spouses are closely related by blood or otherwise
The above reasons would be the only way a judge would grant an annulment, but even then he/she would look into the marriage deeply.
Maybe you meet one of the above reasons, and now you are wondering how to get the annulment. Annulment proceedings follow the same rules as divorce actions. It is important to learn and follow the rules for pleading, service, and procedures. The process can be difficult, so it is important to talk to a lawyer about the process.
There are some effects of annulment you should be aware of. Georgia has a statue on the books which says that the children born as the product of a void marriage, before its annulled, are legitimate. Many state courts don’t have statutory authority to award alimony or divide property or debts as part of an annulment. Georgia, however, can equitably divide a couple’s joint property and debts when they decide an annulment case. Georgia courts can’t award permanent alimony because an annulment says that the parties were never spouses at all. They can however make the wealthier spouse pay for attorney fees.
If you are still wondering if you need to file for an annulment or divorce, contact Brown Dutton & Crider to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.