Invalid Marriage Lawyers
What Does it Mean to Be in an Invalid Marriage?
Sometimes, a couple that has been living as a married couple will find out that their marriage is not in fact valid. This might happen where one spouse has not revealed a past marriage to the other spouse, or where they are both wrong in believing that a previous marriage had ended due to divorce or death. A marriage may also be invalid where it was entered into by two people who are related to one another or who are underage.
If a marriage is found to be invalid, or void, the court may grant an annulment instead of a divorce.
What is the Difference Between a Marriage That is Void and One That is Voidable?
- A marriage that is void is one that is invalid from the time it occurred and will be treated as though it never existed. One example would be an incestuous marriage, or a marriage between two family members.
- A marriage that is voidable is one that can be annulled if it is challenged, but if neither party challenges it, then it will remain valid. For example, if one of the parties was underage at the time of the marriage, it could later be challenged and annulled, but will otherwise stay valid.
What Should I Do If I Find Out that My Marriage is Not Actually Valid?
In most cases, if your marriage is invalid and the court grants an annulment, you and your former spouse are free to go your separate ways, with no legal obligation toward one another.
If you had a good-faith belief that your marriage was entirely valid, you are what is called a putative spouse. You may still possess a number of the rights that you would have if your marriage was in fact valid. Though the laws vary from state to state, most jurisdictions will protect the putative spouse. In such cases, the court may require divorce proceedings in order to dissolve the marriage, and the normal rules governing property division will apply.
Should I Contact an Attorney?
If you wish to get out of an invalid marriage, or if you have recently found out that your marriage is not valid and you believed that it was, you should contact an attorney with experience in family law and litigation. He or she will be able to assert and protect your rights.
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Last Modified: 08-24-2012 04:29 PM PDT
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