Legal termination of marriage, in California, happens in one of three ways.
(1) Legal Separation; (2) Marital Dissolution; or (3) Nullity.
Are you a candidate for termination via nullity? Perhaps, but this remedy should only be sought where the validity of the marriage is in doubt. The difference between nullity of a marriage and martial dissolution is that they are based on opposing assumptions.
A nullity is pursued because the petitioner (one who files the action) believes that no valid marriage ever existed and their seeking to prove this theory. A marital dissolution, rather, merely terminates an otherwise valid marriage. So, in effect, a nullity action seeks to answer a question. Was there a valid marriage? The court is tasked with finding an answer.
So is your marriage valid? A marriage may be invalid from the beginning because of irregularities in the statutory formalization procedures, which are ordinarily obtaining the license, solemnization and authentication. However, it also may be void or voidable because of other legal imperfections including but not limited to incest, bigamy, inducement by fraud or force, or where a party or both parties are under the age of consent at the time of the marriage.
Assuming a nullity is a option, be aware that there are some disadvantages. As the petitioner you have the burden of proof. This can be costly and time consuming. In a typical marital dissolution the proceedings are no fault. However, in a nullity proceeding, fault and issues of innocence are essential and must be proved with evidence.
Parties to an invalid marriage do not have community property rights. Rather, the property acquired during void or voidable marriage that would have otherwise been community property is deemed quasi-community property. And it divided up in much the same way as community property. But, and this is an important but. Property is deemed Quasi-community property only when Putative Spouse status is proved. This means that the spouse asserting that the property be deemed Quasi-Community Property must prove that he/she was innocent and that he/she had a good faith belief that the marriage was valid.
Even though there are clearly disadvantages of nullity, there are many benefits of Nullity as well including but not limited to the following. Will you please visit my site linked below to read about the benefits. And will you please schedule a free, confidential consultation while you’re there.