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Annulment, Mediation or Divorce: Knowing Your Options

annulment mediation or divorceAre you at the point where you wished your marriage had never existed? If you’re ready to end your marriage, you have the options of annulment, mediation or divorce. With a knowledgeable family law attorney as your legal counsel, you will know your best options for starting life over as a single person.

Can You Get an Annulment?

People used to think annulments were only for unconsummated marriages, but all states make it possible to annul your marriage under certain situations. The state primarily deal with civil annulments, although religious annulments do still occur.

An annulment means that a marriage never existed legally. There are only a few reasons that make you eligible for an annulment, which you then have to prove.

States have different laws, but the most common grounds for getting an annulment are as follows:

  • Bigamy or preexisting marriage
  • Duress
  • Fraud due to misrepresentation
  • Marriage between close relatives, such as sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew
  • Mental incapacity so no ability to consent
  • One or both spouses is underage
  • Unable to consent due to intoxication and/or drug use
  • Inability to consummate marriage

For annulments, most states also have residency requirements and a statute of limitations. This means the couple must file for an annulment within a certain time frame of the wedding. After the filing, a court has to make the final determination based on the evidence presented.

When seeking an annulment, a marriage is voiced or voidable. A voided marriage was never legal, such as in the case of bigamy. A voidable marriage means that a court decides it’s invalid.

Why Mediation Can Help

Mediation is a good way to end a marriage privately and amicably, but only if both spouses are willing to work together. The benefits of choosing mediation over litigation are numerous. With mediation you save money and time, and the entire process is less stressful.

An impartial mediator facilitates the meetings as both sides get to talk about the issues and find solutions. You don’t usually have an attorney with you during mediation meetings, but it does help to consult with an attorney for advice during the process.

Another benefit of mediation is that a couple may decide that a legal separation is better for their circumstances. Reasons for a legal separation include keeping a spouse on a health insurance plan, maintaining marital status, and receiving social security benefits.

Is a Divorce the Answer?

If you and your spouse have decided that the marriage is over, you both have many decisions to make. If there are children, you need to decide on custody, child support, and visitation rights. Other issues are spousal support, and division of assets and debts. Many states, including Florida, have no-fault divorces. This means that no one is to blame for the marriage falling apart.

Even if you decide to use mediation to reach agreements, it’s important that you and your spouse each have your own divorce attorney.

Talk to a Family Law Attorney

During this emotional period you need to know your options and the best person to contact is a family law attorney and family mediator. The Estevez-Pazos Law Firm has the experience to assist you in making the decisions on how to end your marriage. Call the law firm today to schedule a consultation at (305) 717-7130.

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The Estevez-Pazos Law Firm, P.A.

135 San Lorenzo Avenue, Suite 650
Coral Gables, Florida 33146
Fax: 305-234-7028
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