Oceanside Annulment Lawyer

Oceanside Annulment Attorney

Under certain circumstances, California law allows for marriages to end in an annulment. If you wish to annul your marriage instead of going through a divorce, an experienced Oceanside annulment lawyer can see if you qualify. Reach out to Paula D. Kleinman, who has more than twenty years of experience helping people with their family law cases, to discuss the specifics of your case.

Oceanside Annulment Lawyer

What Is an Annulment?

In California, an annulment is the legal process of declaring a marriage null and void from its inception, as if the marriage never happened. Annulments are rare and can be difficult to obtain due to the limited circumstances in which they are granted.

Annulment vs. Divorce

When it comes to divorce and annulment, there are big differences. The main difference is that when your marriage is annulled, it is like the state of California says the marriage never happened. All the rights granted in a marriage are dissolved, meaning there will be differences when deciding on property division, spousal support, and child custody.

In a divorce, the marriage is still dissolved but is still considered to have been a legally valid marriage. The divorcing spouses will have to work through property division, spousal support, child custody, visitation, and support.

Additionally, the grounds for dissolution of the marriage also differ. An annulment requires specific legal grounds to render the marriage void, whereas a divorce is often based on no-fault grounds such as irreconcilable differences.

It is also important to note that annulment and divorce are generally not used for the same marriage, meaning if the marriage has already ended in divorce, seeking an annulment for the same marriage is generally not applicable.

Grounds for Annulment

For your marriage to qualify for an annulment in Oceanside, CA, it must fall under these grounds:

Underage Marriage

Under California law, both spouses must be 18 years of age or older to enter into a marriage unless they receive parental consent or court approval. If the marriage does not follow this law, the marriage may be eligible for annulment.

Fraud or Duress

All marriages should be entered into with consent from both spouses. If either of them was coerced, deceived, or forced into the marriage, it might be eligible for an annulment. Some examples of fraud can be concealment of serious health issues, failure to disclose prior marriages or children, false identity or social status, or even a spouse not disclosing the fact they are impotent or infertile.


If one person enters a marriage with another person who is already married to another person, it could fall under bigamy.


Incestuous marriages can be annulled under California law, which is a marriage between closely related blood relatives. These are family members such as parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren.

Mental Incapacity

If one of the spouses lacks the mental capacity to understand the nature of the marriage during the ceremony, the marriage may be considered voidable. This may include mental illness, intellectual disability, or they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

The spouse seeking the annulment is the one who bears the burden of proving they have grounds for the annulment. It is recommended that you consult with an annulment attorney to help you understand specific legal requirements, gather evidence, and guide you through the process.

Steps for Getting an Annulment in California

After consulting with an attorney, a request must be filed with the courts in your home county before the statute of limitations runs out. If your grounds are based on physical incapacity, age, fraud, or duress, you generally have four years. An annulment petition includes information about the marriage, the reason for the annulment, and any specifics you want the court to know.

Then, a summons is completed to notify your spouse of the annulment petition. This is done within 30 days of filing, and they have 30 days from the time they receive the summons to respond. It is required that you have an uncontested proceeding where you and your spouse must attend a court hearing. If the court deems your request valid, the judge will grant the annulment.

If the petition for annulment gets denied, it does not mean you cannot end the marriage. This just means you will need to move on through the Oceanside divorce process.

Property Division

Property division during a marriage annulment differs from that of a divorce. Since an annulment is the decision that a marriage never existed, the general guidelines are to restore both spouses to their financial positions before the marriage as much as possible.

Since community property principles are not applicable in an annulled marriage, the court will focus on equitable principles. This is dividing the property in a fair and just manner, dependent on the specific circumstances of each case. The court will consider the length of the marriage, each party’s financial contributions, any agreements between the two, and whether one spouse contributed significantly to the other’s education or career during the marriage.

Spousal Support

Spousal support in an annulled marriage is different from that awarded in a divorce. Support granted in an annulled marriage is typically influenced by factors such as fraud or force. Since the court wants to ensure that both parties are returned, as much as possible, to their financial positions before the marriage, it may order restitution or financial restoration.

Child Custody and Support

If there were children born to a now-annulled marriage, the father of the children would need to seek paternity rights of his children, similar to children born from unmarried parents. This can be done at the time of annulment, and then child custody and support will be established.

Deciding on child support and custody after a marriage is annulled and parentage is established, is just like in any divorce or separation proceedings. California always prioritizes the best interests of the child and will take into account their age, health, emotional ties with each parent, and the ability of each parent to provide a stable environment.

The non-custodial parent may be granted visitation rights, and since both parents are legally responsible for financially supporting their child, child support will be calculated based on the parent’s income, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and any unique expenses related to the child’s needs.

Common Misconceptions about Marriage Annulment

Misconceptions about marriage annulment in California can come up due to the lack of understanding of the legal requirements and processes involved. Some of the most common misconceptions are:

Annulment Is Easier Than Divorce in California

There is a misconception that annulment is a quick and easy alternative to divorce. In reality, annulments require specific legal grounds. They can also become just as complex as divorces due to similar circumstances, such as child custody and property division.

Annulment Can Be Based on Infidelity

Infidelity alone is not typically grounds for annulment in California. Annulment is usually based on factors present at the time of the marriage, not what happened after.

Annulments Can Be Based on Domestic Violence

Domestic violence itself is not grounds for annulment, but it may be relevant in cases where force or duress was involved at the time of the marriage.

Annulment Is Based Only on Short Durations

Some people believe that you can only get an annulment if the marriage is short-term. Specific grounds are what an annulment is based on, not time.

Annulment Is Granted Automatically

An annulment is not granted automatically, and it requires legal proceedings. The spouse seeking an annulment must provide evidence supporting the grounds for annulment, and a court makes the final decision.

Annulment Is Unavailable if the Spouses Lived Together

Living together after discovering grounds for annulment does not necessarily disqualify a marriage from annulment. However, it can be a factor considered by the court.

Both Spouses Must Agree to an Annulment

Both spouses do not necessarily need to agree to an annulment. The spouse seeking the annulment must provide evidence supporting the grounds, with or without the other’s consent, and the court makes the final decision.

Only the “Innocent” Spouse Can Seek an Annulment

Both spouses can seek an annulment if the legal grounds are met. The concept of an “innocent” or “guilty” party is not a determining factor in whether a person can file for an annulment. It all depends on if there are legal grounds to render the marriage voidable.

Is Annulment Available for My Marriage?

To determine whether or not your marriage is eligible for an annulment in California is dependent on several factors, and it is recommended to consult with a family law attorney to get personalized advice based on your specific case. A lawyer can help you understand all relevant laws and ensure that your marriage meets the necessary criteria.

Work With Experienced Oceanside Annulment Attorneys

If you have questions about annulments or believe your marriage should be annulled based on false pretenses, contact Paula D. Kleinman, A Professional Law Corporation. Consulting with an Oceanside annulment attorney can be beneficial for successfully navigating your case and moving forward with your life.


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