Here’s a great article by Todd Spodek, a top rated NYC divorce attorney.
When two people decide to end their marriage, they petition the court for a divorce. However, there are some cases that allow spouses to end their marriage more quickly with an annulment. The primary difference between in a divorce and an annulment, is that an annulment disappears from court records completely just like it never existed. The law surrounding an annulment is a bit different than in a divorce and it can impact parental rights in some instances. The following is an overview of the annulment process works. If you are considering an annulment, it may be helpful to speak with a family law attorney for advice.
Who Can Get An Annulment?
Annulments are not as common as divorces, primarily because the reason for the annulment must fall into a specific category. Below are some instances in which an annulment would be granted, instead of a traditional divorce:
If the people involved in the marriage are close blood relatives, it may be possible to obtain an annulment.
When one spouse is already married, the other spouse may be able to obtain an annulment. Bigamy is illegal in the United States.
In the event one party is deceived in some way, an annulment may be granted. Some examples of fraud are not disclosing a sexually transmitted disease or being impotent.
- Under The Age Of Consent
If one party was under the legal age of consent, an annulment may be granted instead of a divorce.
How An Annulment Affects Parental Rights
When one spouse petitions the court for an annulment, it is possible to ask the court to terminate the other spouses parental rights. However, this is something the court takes very seriously and terminating parental rights may only be done in certain instances. Some reasons parental rights may be terminated during a civil annulment include:
If a parent has failed to pay child support or contact the child for 6 months or more, parental rights may be terminated. However, the court may decide not to terminate parental rights if the absent parent can prove there was a good reason why he had no contact with his child.
When one parent fails to provide basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing the court may decide to terminate parental rights during an annulment.
- Being Unfit
If a parent is unfit and cannot provide the child with the proper guidance and care, parental rights may be terminated.
- Risk Of Injury
When one parent is involved in drugs, alcohol or prostitution the court may determine the risk of injury to the child is too great for the child. In these cases, parental rights may be terminated in a civil annulment.
Family law can be complex, which is why it you may benefit from speaking with an attorney before proceeding with your annulment. If you are seeking to terminate the parental rights of your spouse, you will most likely need the advice of someone with experience in that area of the law to be successful.