2 annulment declaration of invalidity determination

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2. Annulment /declaration of invalidity - determination that a marriage is invalid I. Asking a court to rule that no valid marriage exists. J. Typical grounds for annulment: a) Impediments to a marriage – those things that make a marriage void b) Also voidable – fraud and duress o Most common ground for annulment o Different degrees of fraud
Family Law Outline Fall 2019 Zoe Gillies Classic case - Reynolds – fraud must go to the ESSENCE of the marital relationship in order for it to be sufficient for annulment purposes i.e. consortium, cohabitation o Material fraud – some states have this Say it doesn’t have to concern the traditional aspects of the marital relationship – it can be any fraud, had it occurred, the individual would not have entered into the relationship If they continue to cohabit after learning of the fraud, the voidable marriage will be ratified and continue to be valid. Must be a MATERIAL fact to the marriage – wouldn’t have entered into the marriage if you had known o Duress – marriage entered into by duress is voidable by the party who lacked the requisite consent to marry K. Affirmative defenses to annulment: a) Premarital knowledge b) Delay / laches – D is saying that P failed to bring annulment action soon after learning the defect, and that that delay caused damage to D c) Statute of limitations – how soon does one have to bring an annulment action? d) Ratification/condonation – D will argue that parties cohabited after P learned of defect (usually only applies to voidable marriages) e) Collateral estoppel – there has already been another court decision deeming the marriage valid f) Equitable estoppel/unclean hands – you can’t use your own wrongful activity as a defense
Family Law Outline Fall 2019 Zoe Gillies L. Effects of annulment a) Does your state permit alimony to be distributed in annulment cases? b) Property rights? Equitable distribution? c) Will client lose certain benefits? d) Effect on children – are they going to be considered having been born to unmarried parents? o Most states say no V. Void and Voidable marriages: A. Void – offends strong public policy of the state, dealing with capacity or qualification to marry a) i.e. incest, bigamy, consanguinity b) Called an annulment in some states c) Can be declared even if one party dies d) Original marriage will stay valid if 2 nd marriage is void B. Voidable – only somewhat offends public policy dealing with capacity or qualification a) Considered valid until one party brings an action to annul the marriage b) i.e. fraud, duress voidable by the party who has been deceived c) usually can be ratified by conduct of parties after removal of legal impediment that made it voidable – unless judicially annulled in timely fashion o After acquiring knowledge of the fraud, accepts the marriage and continues to cohabit 3. Legal separation action – Decree of separation C. Asking the court to formally suspend the marital relationship, and provide a way to ensure payment of support during the period of suspension.
Family Law Outline Fall 2019

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