Guide to Annulment In New York- By NY Lawyer

The annulment of a marriage under New York State law is a legal process that declares a marriage void or voidable. This is different from divorce, which dissolves a valid marriage. When either a husband or a wife is looking to get an annulment rather than a divorce, it is usually because of religious reasons. Sometimes one of the spouses would prefer being able to cite their marital status in the future as single rather than divorced. However, while getting a no-fault uncontested divorce in New York is a very simple process which can be done without having to make any court appearance or spend a lot of money on legal fees, an annulmentage,  is much tricker and costlier.

Grounds For Annulment

In New York, there are several grounds for annulling a marriage, including bigamy, infidelity, fraud, mental incapacity, and lack of consent. Perhaps the most common grounds are infidelity and fraud.

If the party wishes to successfully file papers based on infidelity, a sworn affidavit from a third party will be required. This third party must have personal knowledge of one or more acts of infidelity. This type of affidavit can be difficult or even impossible to obtain, unless a private investigator is used.

For fraud, there are specific legal requirements that have to be met and the fraud has to go to the heart of the martial relationship. It is usually not sufficient for one party to claim that the other party misled him or her as to his or her income age, or assets, while lying about one’s intentions about having or not having children is usually enough for fraud.

Another example of fraud which may be grounds for an annulment, would be where one spouse professes love, but marries the other for the sole purpose of obtaining a green card. 

Claims of duress are rare, but can be successful if a spouse suffers from severe mental illness or mental retardation, or is very young in age, or there are other circumstances, such as arranged marriages, where  parents force young girls into marriage against their will, which make it believable that  a spouse was coerced into marriage. 

Consequences of Annulment

When a marriage is annulled in New York, it has significant consequences for the parties involved, particularly with regards to property, spousal support, child custody, and visitation. However, an annulment does not impact the legitimacy of any children born during the marriage.

Role of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial or Postnuptial agreements may also play a role in annulment proceedings under New York law, as they may address issues related to property and support. If both parties are willing to relinquish whatever rights they have under the prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, they will be allowed to do so, and agree to an annulment, but otherwise there is likely to be very extensive and expensive litigation.

The Annulment Process

The annulment process can be complex and will require the provision of proof to support the grounds for annulment. In most cases sworn affidavits from third parties who have personal knowledge of the essential facts which constitute the grounds, will be required and will be closely scrutinized by the Judge who will make a declaration of nullity, ending the marriage.

Importance of Legal Advice

It is important to seek the advice of a qualified attorney familiar with New York State annulment law to understand the specific requirements and to determine the best course of action for your particular situation.  This consultation should take place before the filing of the annulment action. The annulment process may involve complex issues, such as child custody, child support, and alimony, and an attorney can help you navigate these issues and ensure that your rights and interests are protected. The annulment of a marriage under New York State law is a legal process that has far-reaching implications for individuals and their families. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the law and to seek the guidance of a qualified attorney to make an informed decision about the best course of action for your particular situation.