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When is marriage annulment an option? | Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.
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How to prepare for an appearance in the Family court if you are a Litigant in Person 8. Indecent Photographs of Children 8. She told Easton, that due to the delicate circumstances, she did not want to further anger her parents and go against their wishes, and due to pressure from her family, she changed her mind about marriage.
Initially, neither Mercer, nor Easton took any legal action to end the marriage. Technically, they were still married under their marriage certificate for this whole time, even though for four years they continued to live separate lives. They never made up, bought property together, supported each other, or even dated again. Easton finally filed a complaint for annulment in , almost four years later.
He argued that the marriage should be annulled because Mercer committed fraud and misrepresentation. A 2A , and maintained that he was legally entitled to an annulment because, by giving into pressure by her parents, and abandoning him and the marriage vows, Mercer committed fraud as to the essentials of marriage.
Moreover, Easton stated that if he knew Mercer was going to change her mind right after the wedding ceremony, he would never have agreed to marry her. Judge Jones explained that annulment is drastically different than divorce. The right to a legal annulment is quite limited, and will only be granted if: one party already has another spouse; if the marriage is prohibited by law; if one spouse was impotent at the time of marriage, and the other spouse did not know about it; if a spouse could not consent to the marriage because of a mental disability, if a spouse could not consent to the marriage because of intoxication due to drugs or alcohol, duress, or fraud; the party seeking the annulment was under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage; or under the interest of equity and fairness.
Fraud is the most common basis used in annulments. A 2A, so that Family Part judges have the authority to order annulments in furtherance of equity and fairness. What is essential to one marriage, may not be as important to another marriage, therefore to determine whether a fraud relates to the essentials of a marriage requires a fact-specific inquiry.
Mercer, there was no evidence that Mercer intended to deceive or mislead Easton. Moreover, Easton did not claim that Mercer tried to trick him into marrying her either.
When is marriage annulment an option?
Therefore, there was no actual fraud. Judge Jones, however, found that even thought there was no actual fraud or intent to deceive, there was still never any real marriage between the two. Even though the annulment statute includes fraud, it does not define or limit fraud to only one type. In cases other than annulment, New Jersey courts have acknowledged the existence of equitable fraud. Unlike actual fraud, there is no requirement of an intent to deceive in equitable fraud.
Grounds for Annulment and Other Influential Factors
Instead, in an action of equitable fraud, a person merely has to prove the falsehood of an important fact, and a detrimental reliance by another person to that fact. The doctrine of equitable fraud allows a court to act in furtherance of fairness. The relief in such a case would not try to punish the defendant, but rather help an innocent plaintiff become whole again through equitable and just relief.