Can Your Marriage be Declared Null?
While most marriages start with good intentions, some of them are objectively invalid from the beginning. When this is the case, having the marriage declared null is the ideal option. A marriage that is declared null has, legally speaking, never been a marriage at all. There are, however, very specific requirements that must be met in order to have a marriage declared null by the state.
When Can a Marriage Be Nullified?
There are a variety of specific requirements that must be met in order for a divorce to be declared null by the state. The best way to determine whether or not your specific marriage meets those criteria is to speak with an experienced attorney such as Madan Ahluwalia. The following are scenarios that may allow a marriage to be considered null:
- Fraud – If either party’s fraudulence induced the marriage to occur, it may be considered null. For example, if one party only married the other to help get a green card so they could stay in the country, this would likely be considered an example of fraudulence that could serve as grounds for Nullity.
- Unsound Mind – If it can be proven that one or both parties were for some reason of unsound mind to agree to a marital contract—such as being extremely intoxicated at the time the marriage took place—it may be null.
- Compulsion – Marriage must be entered into freely. If one of the parties is using threats or other compulsion to force the other to marry them, it could be null.
- Age – If one or both parties are under the age of consent and didn’t have permission from their parents, at the time of the marriage, it could be null.
- Relation – If the parties are discovered to be close relatives, the marriage is likely null.
- Previous Marriage – If one or both parties are already legally married to someone else, they cannot enter into a new marriage.
- Incurable Physical Capacity – This is most commonly used as grounds for Nullity when when one spouse has an incurable condition that prevents the conception of children.
What Are the Benefits of Nullity?
When compared to divorce, which brings about the legal end to a legal marriage, Nullity is a highly desirable way to end a marriage for most couples due to the fact that a finding of Nullity will recognize the marriage as never having existed in the first place. It allows an individual to legally claim that they have never before been married because the union that occurred was illegal to begin with. When one or more of the specific criteria for Nullity—which have been outlined above—are met, it is usually in the best interests of the couple to seek a nullification of the marriage rather than a divorce.
Nullity and Immigration
Nullity of Marriage is one of the most common overlaps between Family Law and Immigration Law, as many spouses fear their husband or wife married them only for immigration purposes when the subject of divorce is broached in an immigrant household. It is essential to note that the legal criteria used in Family Law and Immigration Law for the determination of fraud is very different. Attorney Madan Ahluwalia is extremely sensitive to the various issues and nuances involved with nullifying a marriage when there are immigration-related issues at stake, and he can help you better understand your options, how a marriage nullification could impact your immigration circumstances, and whether or not you even qualify for a marriage nullification.
If you believe that your marriage may qualify as null, contact us to have us review the facts surrounding your situation. If you qualify, we can help you to get your marriage declared null so you can move forward with your life. If not, we can help you to explore all your options for ending your marriage if that is what you desire.