Although couples do not typically enter a marriage expecting to separate, circumstances sometimes change. For some couples, divorcing to dissolve the marriage is appropriate. However, other couples have the opportunity to annul the marriage.
If you are interested in ending your marriage, an experienced family attorney can advise you of your legal options. A Hamilton County annulment lawyer familiar with the process could explain the process, represent you, and protect your rights and interests along the way.
Unlike a divorce, which serves as the legal termination of an existing marriage, an annulment is the process of erasing the marriage altogether. Divorce proceedings dissolve the marriage from the point of the legal process forward, but it does not change what happened in the past. Instead, the former spouses must disentangle their property, debts, and other finances during their separation.
However, an annulment renders the entire marriage null and void from its very beginning, as it seeks to remedy a marriage initiated in bad faith. At its core, an annulment means that the marriage lacked validity from the start.
While the laws that govern annulment proceedings differ in each state, there are generally a set of pre-defined circumstances that serve as the grounds for the termination. Those circumstances include:
While the list above serves as a general guideline, it is far from all-inclusive. Parties considering voiding their marriage should speak with lawyers in Hamilton County familiar with the annulment qualifications, process, and state regulations.
Annulment laws differ depending upon the state that the parties live in. For Tennessee residents, the process includes the following steps:
To file a complaint, the spouse in question must have been a Tennessee resident for at least six months. Additionally, the paperwork must include the following:
An attorney could help Hamilton County parties file the initial complaint for annulment to help ensure it is filed correctly and with the appropriate information.
If parties qualify for an annulment, the filing spouse must notify the other party before the annulment hearing. However, while it is ultimately the spouse’s duty to serve the annulment paperwork, the court and a local lawyer can help guide them through situations, including cases where the other party cannot be located.
Once the other spouse has been served the applicable paperwork, the family court will schedule a hearing. This hearing will provide both parties with a forum to present evidence, witnesses, and testimony to back up their claim. Once both parties have presented their case, the judge will determine if the annulment is founded.
Much like divorce, the annulment process can be both complex and confusing. Handling a legal proceeding like terminating a marriage can be a significant undertaking, but a skilled Hamilton County annulment lawyer can help streamline the process.
Our team has years of experience helping couples through family legal proceedings and are standing by to assist you. Contact us to schedule a consultation today and to discuss your case.