Not every end to a marriage results in a divorce, some marriages end by way of annulment. Jersey City-New Jersey Annulment Attorney and Jersey City Divorce Lawyer Santo Artusa discusses how someone can obtain an annulment in New Jersey.
Q: Mr. Artusa, in which circumstances can someone obtain an annulment?
A: First I would like to explain what an annulment is or why someone may want to seek one instead of a divorce. The statute that governs these cases is: N.J.S.A. 2A:34-1. When someone seeks an annulment there are essentially telling the court that the marriage never really existed, that is should be null and void for various reasons. The cause of action dates back to the English Courts around the 12th Century as divorce actions did not take place in most European countries until the 1800/1900s.
And while the marriage may have never really existed, a person seeking an annulment can still obtain alimony and a division of assets in certain cases. I will focus on the most common grounds concerning these cases that I have worked on and have succeeded in obtaining a Judgment.
- Lack of capacity by both or one party
- A prior marriage/existing civil union
- Relation within prohibited degrees
- Intoxication or Drug Addiction
The two grounds that I deal with quite a bit are: impotence and fraud. Withholding that someone is impotent is a strong reason to seek an annulment as most people seek to marry to have the ability to have children, families of their own blood. Being impotent and not disclosing this material fact could lead to an annulment as the person who failed to disclose left out something critically important who had the right to decide whether he or she wanted to still marry knowing this fact. Leaving this fact our is not fair to any person, especially your soon to be wife. We have handled many cases like this throughout the state.
In the case of Pisciotta v. Buccino, Appellate Division 1952, the Court found that an annulment will be granted only when the fraud is of an extreme nature and goes to the essentials of the marriage, and where proof is clear and convincing. There have been cases where annulments have been permitted when women have not disclosed being sterile.
Fraud Regarding Intention to Have Children
If a person decides prior to the marriage that he or she does not want to have children and does not inform his or her spouse prior to the marriage and does not permit unprotected sex during the marriage, the marriage could be annulled.
There have been cases that have not met the burden of “attacking” the essentials of the marriage. Some examples are: False representations with regard to fortune, family, or external condition and concealment of out of wedlock children.
The list of cases and scenarios with regard to this area of law are essentially endless. Whether you are entitled to an annulment or simply want a divorce if you cannot obtain an annulment and want to end the marriage in New Jersey. If you are seeking a divorce or annulment, contact my office on 201-706-7910 to discuss your options and how we can help you today or visit or main page about all of the divorce and family options we offer in New Jersey..