California Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

Perhaps the glimmer has come off of your Golden State romance, and you are looking at options for ending your marriage. With a few options from which to choose (legal separation, summary dissolution, annulment, divorce), how do you know which one is right for you? Marriage-ending legal proceedings generally have strict rules regarding who they apply to and what circumstances they cover. This is a brief introduction to one of those processes, annulment, and a brief looks at types of prohibited marriages in California.

Annulments and Prohibited Marriages

States have their own laws regarding annulment and the various types of marriages that are prohibited (such as those between blood relatives). California annulment and prohibited marriage laws govern the grounds for annulment (a court ruling that the marriage was never valid in the first place), time limits for obtaining an annulment, and the various scenarios in which a marriage would not be recognized by the state.

Annulment Laws in California

Each state may have different annulment laws. Below are some general highlights of these various laws, found in the California Family Code.

Code Section

Family 2200, 2201, 2210, 2211

Grounds for Annulment

Party did not have capability to consent; party had another living spouse; party was of unsound mind, unless party freely cohabitated with spouse after coming to reason; consent obtained by force or fraud, unless party freely cohabitated with spouse afterwards; party was physically incapable of entering marriage state

Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment

Age of consent: Underage party within 4 yrs. of reaching age of consent or by parent before party has reached age;

Fraud: Within 4 yrs. of discovery of fraud by injured party;

Husband/wife living: Either party during life or by former spouse;

Unsound mind: Any time before death;

Consent by force: Within 4 yrs. of marriage by injured party;

Physical incapability: Within 4 yrs. of marriage by injured party

Legitimacy of Children

-

Prohibited Marriages

Ancestor and descendant of any degree, brother and sister (half-blood included), uncle and niece, aunt and nephew; bigamy and polygamy

Related Resources for Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

The decision to end a marriage is never an easy one, especially if you are concerned about the legality of your marriage to begin with. You can find more general information about this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on annulmentdivorce, and California family law. If you would like legal assistance with your case, you can consult with an experienced California divorce attorney.

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