Montgomery County, PA Annulment Lawyer
Annulment Compared to Divorce
An annulment is similar to a divorce in that it terminates a marriage; however, an annulment is a court procedure that dissolves a marriage by treating it as if it never occurred. The reasons one may want to seek an annulment to end his or her marriage may vary; some may prefer an annulment because it may be easier to remarry in a church, and others feel getting a divorce may carry a stigma with it and discuss annulment as an option with a legal professional. A majority of annulments take place after a very short marriage that may have lasted months or even weeks. In this instance, there are typically no assets or debts to divide, so it can be less complicated.
Two Types of Annulments: Civil and Religious
For the two types of annulments, civil (granted by the government or state) and religious (granted by the church), these are the grounds for which a person can file for an annulment. The court can grant an annulment based on a variety of factors which may include:
- At the time of marriage either party had an existing spouse
- The parties to such marriage have determined that they are somehow related within the degrees of consanguinity
- Either party was incapable of knowledgeable consent by reason of insanity or mental disorder or other incapacity
- Either party was under 16 years of age, or was 16 or 17 years of age and lacked the consent of parent or guardian and has not subsequently ratified the marriage upon reaching 18 years of age
- Either party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and an action for annulment is commenced within 60 days
- A party was impotent, and the other party was not aware
- One party was pressured into the marriage due to fraud, duress, coercion or force attributable and more
Within the Roman Catholic Church, a couple may obtain a religious annulment after obtaining a civil divorce so that one or both individuals can remarry and have the second union recognized by the church. The grounds for a religious annulment in the Catholic Church differ from the grounds for a civil annulment.
The Annulment Process in Pennsylvania
Either party is able to bring an action for annulment. Here are the general steps one must take in order to file:
- Determine your reason for annulment: There are specific grounds on which a person can petition for annulment, and understanding the reasons will help you know if this is the avenue you should pursue.
- Gather proof of the reason for the annulment: Supporting proof will greatly help your case when filing for an annulment, so gather evidence like e-mails, phone records, and other supporting documents to prove your reasons for filing.
- Seek legal assistance: Select a qualified Montgomery County family law attorney and schedule a consultation to discuss your case and the fees and charges associated with obtaining an annulment. Provide your attorney with the supporting documents you gathered, as well as anything else needed for successful filing.
When a child is born out of wedlock, the determination of paternity is handled through civil court process, thus the burden of proof required is a preponderance of the evidence. If there is clear evidence of paternity based on genetic tests, the court can issue a temporary order of support in the meanwhile until the paternity case in finalized. If the defendant is served with notice of an order to submit to a genetic test and fails to comply, a default judgment can be established. Establishing paternity is critical to insure that the child has the support of both parents.
The Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. has years of experience helping couples in Montgomery, Delaware and Chester Counties arrive at satisfactory resolutions agreeable to all parties. Call (866) 290-9292 or (610) 645-0100 for a complimentary consultation.