Raleigh, NC Annulment Lawyer

There are many ways to end a marriage in North Carolina. The traditional way is for one or both parties to file for a divorce. This serves as notice that the marriage was a legitimate contract between the two parties, but now the filing party would like it to end.

The other way to end a marriage in Raleigh is an annulment. An annulment differs from a divorce in that an annulled marriage is considered to have never taken place. This can have a very different legal result than that of a divorce.

A Raleigh annulment lawyer may be able to help you determine if your marriage qualifies for an annulment under North Carolina law. If retained, your dedicated attorney could help you evaluate the details of your marriage and, if applicable, file a motion in court to ask for an annulment.

Annulments vs. Divorces 

Annulments and divorces can have a similar outcome—in the sense that the two parties are no longer married—but the similarities end there. Any marriage may end in a divorce, but only certain marriages can end in an annulment.

According to North Carolina Statutes §51-3, a married person can only apply for an annulment under very specific circumstances. These include:

  • One party in the marriage being under the age of 16
  • One party in the marriage being married to a third party at the time of the wedding
  • When one party in the marriage was unable to consent to the marriage
  • Impotence of either party
  • When a couple gets married under the mistaken belief that the female is pregnant

In some of these situations, such as a partner already being married, the marriage is illegal to begin with. In others, such as impotence, the marriage may continue if the parties wish but can be voided upon request.

The court hearing for an annulment can be very similar to that for a divorce. The filing party must provide evidence as to why the marriage should be annulled. The responding spouse may either agree to this request or contest the evidence in court. In either event, a Raleigh annulment lawyer may be able to help.

The Effects of an Annulment

Divorce cases have a reputation as being lengthy, nasty events where the two parties argue over every small detail of their lives. These cases can last for many months or even years as important issues such as property division, child custody, and alimony are hammered out.

One of the main advantages of getting an annulment is that many of these issues do not need to be decided on or even debated. The general rule for an annulment is that the court acts as if the marriage never took place. This means that if Spouse A owned a house prior to marriage that the two parties lived in, Spouse A would keep that house after an annulment.

The same general rule applies to questions of alimony. Annulment proceedings never order one spouse to pay alimony. However, one spouse may be ordered to pay child support if the two parties had a child together during the marriage.

Questions concerning the custody and support of children are one of the few areas where an annulment case can resemble a divorce proceeding. A Raleigh annulment lawyer could help an individual party fully understand the annulment process and what to expect in court.

How a Raleigh Annulment Attorney Could Help

While any marriage may be ended by a divorce, only a select few can be ended by annulment. An annulled marriage is considered invalid by the law and courts would act as if the marriage never took place.

To reiterate, though, only a small set of marriages can be ended this way and this option is typically only available if the marriage should never have been legal in the first place. Situations including bigamy, false pregnancy, and child marriage are all examples of this limited group of circumstances.

A Raleigh annulment lawyer could help you determine if your marriage fits into this category. They could then work to press for this annulment in North Carolina’s courts. Contact an attorney today to learn more.