Types of annulments vary, with civil and religious being the two main kinds. We shall be discussing civil annulment in Georgia in more detail here under. For the sake of this article we will not be delving into religious annulment in Georgia, which can only be granted by the church or a clergy member.
Civil annulments and divorces are sometimes considered as being similar, since they both make a determination about a couple’s marital status. But there is a key difference between them; that is, in a divorce ends an existing, valid marriage will be terminated, whereas annulment simply declares that the marriage never existed in the first place.
It's possible to have your marriage annulled in Georgia, even though it is not that common. Georgia annulment law discredits annulment since the courts look at annulment requests in a rather sceptical way. In general they request for strong proof before being convinced to grant such a request.
One key factor to mention here is that under Georgia law, should you and your spouse already have children, or are pregnant, you cannot get an annulment. In such a case you would have to pursue a divorce to end your marriage.
Grounds For An Annulment in Georgia
In Georgia, a marriage can be annulled if it is considered to be "void,". This means that the law forbids it, or else that it never actually had the potential to be valid. The grounds for annulment in Georgia are the following:
- One or both spouses is considered to have been mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage ceremony.
- One or both spouses was underage at the time of the marriage, and there was no parental or guardian consent.
- One or both spouses consented to the marriage only as a result of coercion or fraud employed by a third party.
- The marriage involves persons of the same gender. It is important to note that the state of Georgia neither recognizes nor permits same-sex marriages. This also applies to same-sex marriages that were carried out in other states.
- It has been found that one spouse is still legally married to another living person. This is referred to as a bigamy.
- It has been concluded that the spouses are closely related, by blood or otherwise. This would be a case of incestuous marriage.
Even if one of the above is discovered or can be proven, it is however possible that you may still not be able to get an annulment in Georgia. For instance, should you have been misled into marrying your spouse because of fraud, but you opted to live with your spouse in a marital relationship even after you learned about this fraud, then you would have ratified the marriage and in such a case it would not be possible to annul it. The reasoning behind such a case is that even though you suffered the act, you still chose to waive your complaint by deciding to live with that person.
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How Do I Get an Annulment in GA?
If any of the above cases exist, then the marriage is considered to be void and there can be grounds for annulment in Georgia. Either one of the spouses have the right to request for an annulment in GA, or as it is technically referred to, petition for annulment. If the case involves a person who is underage and who got married without parental consent, then that parent has the right to file the annulment petition in Georgia.
Annulment proceedings follow the same rules as divorce in Georgia actions. So, you would need to be aware of these and follow them accordingly. This includes pleading, service, and procedure phases. If you are the spouse who would like an annulment in Georgia, the first step in the marriage annulment process is to file and serve a petition for annulment. If your spouse responds by filing an answer opposing your request, you could have a right to a trial by jury. If you're considering to request an annulment in GA, it's a good idea to start off by discussing this with a lawyer first. The reason is that there are various things to consider. For instance, there would be custodial and child support issues if you have kids. Moreover, there could be serious financial ramifications to deal with when the court divides the assets and debts. You will also want to discuss any possible statutes of limitations with your lawyer so as to make sure that you won't miss any deadlines.
Effect of an Annulment in Georgia
In Georgia, an annulment has basically the same effect as a divorce in Georgia - both parties become single again and they can eventually decide to remarry.
Some people worry that if their marriage is declared void, the paternity of their children will be questioned. This is not an issue in Georgia annulment, as this state prohibits annulment in cases where the couple already has children or if the wife is currently pregnant. In such a case you would have to go through divorce proceedings, where a judge will decide custody, child support, as well as visitation.
The state of Georgia also has a statute that stipulates that children born from a void marriage, before it is annulled, are considered to be legitimate. This is considered as an additional form of protection for such children.
Many state courts do not have the statutory authority to grant alimony or to divide property or debts as part of an annulment case. The main reasoning behind this is that one cannot consider that an invalid marriage had a marital estate. However the state of Georgia is slightly different in this aspect. Here the courts can divide a couple's joint property and debts in an equitable manner when they decide an annulment case.
Georgia courts cannot, however, award permanent alimony. This is due to the fact that such alimony is considered to be a remedy available from a former spouse to another, whereas an annulment in Georgia essentially states that the parties were never considered to be one another’s spouses in the first place. Nonetheless, the court in Georgia can make the spouse with the highest income help out his or her spouse in paying attorney fees so as to enable the latter to proceed in the case litigation.