“Annulment” vs. “Nullity of Marriage? “

The State of California changed the legal term from “annulment” to “nullity of marriage” many years ago. However, despite the name change, many people and lawyers still call it “annulment.” Outside of court, people and lawyers use the terms as synonyms. However, in court, you need to call it a “nullity of marriage.”

Grounds for a Nullity of Marriage/Annulment

There are multiple grounds for an annulment in California. Marriages that are incestuous or bigamous are deemed “void” from the beginning and the judge must give you an annulment if you properly present your case. Others include the fact that one or both of the parties were too young to give their consent, consent to the marriage was obtained by force or fraud, either party was of unsound mind, or that one of the parties, at date of marriage, was “physically incapable” of “entering into the marriage state.”  The most common basis is “fraud.” In this context, “fraud” can exist when one of the parties says something untruthful or conceals something material. Generally, the fraud “must go to the very essence of the marital relation, and is “generally granted only in cases where the fraud related in some way to the sexual or procreative aspects of marriage.”