How Do I Get My Marriage Annulled in Calgary?

Richmond Tymchuk Family Law

How Do I Get My Marriage Annulled in Calgary?

Richmond Tymchuk Family Law

Starting the process to end a marriage is a major decision, filled with emotional distress and legal complexities. While divorce is a common option, another legal path is seeking an annulment. Before choosing this option, it’s important to know whether you’re even eligible. Let’s take a minute to review the annulment process, examine the reasons courts grant them, and the necessary steps to obtain one.

What is an Annulment?

An annulled marriage is essentially considered null and void, as if it never legally happened. Unlike divorce, which ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was invalid from the outset. This could be due to various legal reasons, which we'll explore below.

Grounds for Annulment

For a marriage to be annulled, it must be proven invalid based on specific grounds. These grounds for annulment include:

  • Lack of Consummation: one of the main reasons for annulment is not consummating the marriage because one party is physically unable to.
  • Lack of Consent: If either party was under duress, intoxicated, or mentally incapable of understanding the marriage, it could be annulled.
  • Bigamy: Being already married to another person at the time of marriage.
  • Family Relation: Marriages between close relatives are prohibited.
  • Underage Marriage: Without proper consent from guardians or without meeting the legal age requirement.
  • Fraud or Misrepresentation: Misleading one's partner about a fundamental aspect of the marriage.

How to Get an Annulment in Calgary?

In Calgary, the process of obtaining an annulment involves more than just submitting a request. It requires a formal procedure that starts with filing a petition with the Court of King's Bench. This is a crucial document that states your reason for the annulment. It must be comprehensive, outlining the specific grounds that could make your marriage invalid. It's not enough to merely claim that the marriage should be declared void; you must provide concrete evidence that supports your claim.

Once your annulment petition has been received, a hearing date will be scheduled, and you will need to attend Court in person to prove your case. We recommend having an experienced lawyer by your side to navigate this process.

What is the Time Frame for Getting an Annulment?

The time frame for which you can seek an annulment largely depends on the grounds on which you are basing your case. For instance, in cases where the marriage was entered into under duress or fraud, the time limit may differ compared to cases based on age at the time of marriage. Each case is unique, and different rules apply. 

This is why it's important to seek legal advice promptly if you are considering annulling your marriage. A family law lawyer can help you understand the specific timelines and deadlines that may apply to your situation, ensuring that you don't miss any crucial windows of opportunity.

What Happens with Child Support in an Annulment?

When children result from the marriage, courts tend to exhibit greater reluctance in granting an annulment. This stems from a commitment to ensuring that the dissolution of a marriage does not adversely affect the offspring's welfare. Just like in divorce scenarios, parents are mandated to provide financial support for their children. 

The judiciary carefully evaluates several factors to ascertain this support, including the child's requirements, the financial capabilities and status of each parent, and the lifestyle to which the child had been accustomed throughout the union. Accordingly, the court might direct either or both parents to contribute to child support payments. This underscores the fact that while an annulment may make a marriage void, it does not void the responsibility of parenthood.

How is Property Handled in an Annulment?

In annulment cases, property distribution often mirrors that of a separation, emphasizing the fair division of joint assets and debts. Even though the marriage is considered invalid, the court can still mandate financial support for a spouse and dictate property allocation between the involved parties. This is subject to the condition that there's no proof suggesting the recipient spouse knew or should have reasonably known the marriage was void when they entered it.

As you weigh the option of pursuing an annulment, it's essential to arm yourself with knowledge about your rights, the legal framework, and the intricacies of the process. The implications on children and assets demand thoughtful deliberation and the expertise of a skilled attorney. Contact our team for personalized guidance and support tailored to your unique circumstances. We're here to help you navigate this journey with confidence and clarity.

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