This article is to help you learn about the basics of Annulment in Georgia
What is an annulment?
An annulment is similar to a divorce in that the court is making a determination in your marital status. The biggest difference is that a divorce ends your marriage while an annulment makes it so that your marriage never existed. It is very rare to get an annulment in Georgia as the court requires significant evidence to prove your marriage should be void. If you have children from the marriage you cannot file for annulment and will have to file for divorce.
What are the grounds for annulment in Georgia?
- Mental incompetence – one or both spouses were mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage
- Underage- One or both spouses were under the legal age for marriage or did not obtain a parent’s consent for marriage
- Fraud- one or both spouses entered the marriage based on fraud or coercion by the other spouse
- Bigamy- one of the spouses is legally married to someone else at the time of the marriage
- Incest- The spouses are related by blood or marriage
While the above mentioned are the grounds for annulment an annulment is not automatically granted because one condition is met. You will need to provide the court with extensive evidence to prove your case. Additionally, if you continue to live with your spouse after you learned about your basis for annulment, that is considered as waiving your complaint and would not be eligible for annulment.
Can I get an annulment if I was only married for a short period of time?
No! This is one of the most common misconceptions relating to annulment. As stated previously, annulment is based on very specific grounds (mentioned above) and not the length of your marriage. If you do not meet one of the grounds mentioned above, you need to file for divorce. The length of your marriage has no relevance.
How long will my annulment take?
An annulment can be granted by the judge at least 30 days after your spouse has been served with the Petition for Annulment. The length of time may vary based on how busy the court is at the time you file.
Once my marriage is annulled how soon can I remarry?
After the court has annulled your marriage and declared it invalid, you can get married anytime after the final order is issued.
What are the effects of annulment?
The main effect of an annulment is returning both spouses to the status of being single and able to remarry.
While most states do not divide property and debts or award alimony during an annulment since the marriage is being declared as invalid, Georgia courts will allow property to be decided. However, permanent alimony cannot be awarded by the court since annulment declares the parties were not married at all. The court can award attorney fees and court costs to be paid though.
What is the benefit of filing for an annulment?
While divorce and annulment are both ways to end your marriage, an annulment makes it as if your marriage never happened. For some people that is preferred to avoid the “stigma” some people believe getting divorce carries. Others may decide to get an annulment for religious reasons. An example of this is not being able to marry in a church if you have been divorced.
At the end of the day, ending your marriage is never an easy decision. It is best to gather as much information as possible to help you make the right decision.