An annulment takes place when a marriage is declared invalid. Legally, it's like the marriage never even took place. Georgia has very specific criteria for getting a marriage annulled. Likewise, the law is also specific about what happens to property and children after an annulment is granted.
First, let's review the grounds for an annulment. Then, we'll examine how property is divided and custody is awarded in this case.
In Georgia, there are very specific criteria that have to be met before an annulment is granted by the court. While same-sex marriage used to be a ground for annulment in Georgia, it is no longer because of the relevant Supreme Court case.
In order to petition the court for an annulment, one of the following conditions must be met:
If one of these conditions is met, you have grounds to petition the court for an annulment. It is not automatically guaranteed, however. You still have to fill out the appropriate paperwork and go before a judge. It is important that you retain counsel if only to gain assistance with proving your case to the court.
For all intents and purposes, an annulment has the same effect as a divorce -- both parties are single again and can remarry when they so desire.
In most states, there is no way to divide property or marital assets because technically the parties were never married. Georgia law works differently. In an annulment case in Georgia, there is an equitable distribution of all joint property just as there would be in a divorce.
There won't be any alimony in an annulment, however. By statute, alimony is money paid by a former spouse to their ex and in an annulment, legally, the two parties were never spouses. A wealthy spouse could have to pay attorney fees to the other spouse, however.
As for custody, it's less of a problem than you might think because if a couple has children or one party is pregnant, the court will not grant an annulment. In this situation, if the couple wants the marriage to end, they have to divorce and custody (as well as child support and visitation) would be determined by the court like normal.
It's also important to note that any children born to a voided or annulled marriage are still legitimate in the eyes of the law. This is so the children themselves have legal protection.
If you are thinking about filing for an annulment or wonder if you meet the criteria, contact Family Matters Law Group today. We can help sort out the legalities and put together a case. We've helped achieve successful outcomes in many different family law matters for parents and couples across the Atlanta metro area.
We're ready to hear your story and fight hard for your family, your assets, and your money! We want to help make sure that what happens after an annulment works in your favor.