It is possible to get an annulment in California, but you must meet strict requirements to qualify for this process. Some people believe that an annulment is a fast and easy way to end an unwanted marriage. However, if you are found eligible for this process, it can take just as long as a divorce in many cases.

How do annulments differ from divorces? Getting a divorce ends your marriage. With an annulment, a judge declares that the marriage is void and you walk away free and clear.

When can you get your marriage annulled?

In California, annulments are extremely rare. At least one of the following requirements must be met:

  • The marriage is between two blood relatives.
  • One spouse was already married to another person.
  • One spouse was under 18 when the couple got married.
  • One spouse was forced into the marriage.
  • One spouse is mentally incapacitated.
  • The marriage involved fraud.

Which is the best option for you?

In a divorce, you do not have to prove anything and end the marriage based on irreconcilable differences. If you qualify for an annulment, you must prove to the judge that one of the reasons above is a factor in your case. You will also have to pay court fees, and the process can be complicated and lengthy. Therefore, many people who may be eligible for annulment choose to get a divorce instead.

The best way to decide between divorce and annulment is to talk to an experienced family law attorney. They can help you determine if you meet the requirements for an annulment. If you are found ineligible, you will already have a legal advocate familiar with your situation to help you get divorced instead.