An Annulment is a relatively rare special action that, rather than terminating your marriage, establishes that it never existed in the first place. While the requirements for divorce in Maryland are relatively straightforward, seeking an annulment instead can complicate matters. It's easy to get overwhelmed looking for information and advice on how to proceed-- but the experienced legal team at Lebovitz Law, LLC. can help you get started.
4 Steps to Getting an Annulment in Maryland
1. Establish your eligibility for an annulment.
The conditions necessary to prove eligibility for an annulment can be difficult to meet. Maryland courts can be reluctant to grant an annulment, and will not grant them without clear proof that the marriage is invalid. Maryland has strict requirements about what qualifies a marriage to be annulled; one or more of the situations below must apply to your marriage.
One spouse coerced the other to be married
One spouse is mentally incapacitated and incapable of getting married
One spouse defrauded the other to convince them to marry
One spouse had another living spouse at the time of the marriage
The spouses are more closely related than first cousins
One spouse is under 18 (unless that spouse had parental consent)
2. File a Complaint for Annulment in court.
You must file a document called a "Complaint for Annulment" with the circuit court for the county where you and your spouse live. You can file for an annulment in the county where the marriage ceremony took place instead, if you prefer. You can speak with the clerk at the circuit court for your county for a sample complaint for annulment, or consult our legal team for assistance filling it out and filing.
3. Serve your spouse with a copy of the complaint.
The clerk at your circuit court can also tell you your options to serve your spouse with a copy of the complaint paperwork. It is possible to serve your spouse even if you can't find them or they live out of state. Regardless, your spouse must be served before you can move on to the fourth and final step.
4. Testify at a hearing in front of a judge.
Testifying in court is the last step before being granted an annulment. It doesn't matter if your spouse agrees that the annulment should be granted; if you are the one asking for an annulment, it is your burden to prove your case. If the judge is convinced that the legal grounds for annulment are in place, they will sign an order annulling your marriage.
A court decree in favor of annulment will protect the property rights of the parties (including bank accounts, pensions and retirement accounts) and provide for the support of the children. The judge can decide issues like custody, visitation, child support, alimony and attorney's fees at the same time as the annulment. In Maryland, children of an annulled marriage are considered legitimate unless it can be clearly proven that the husband did not father the children. When a child is declared legitimate, both parents have the duty to financially support the child.
For the full text of the law on annulment in Maryland, see the Maryland Family Code, Title 2.
Get Help with an Annulment in Maryland from The Attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC
Whether you are searching for an experienced lawyer to assist with your annulment, negotiating child support in Maryland or other legal issues, the attorneys at Lebovitz Law, LLC can help. To learn more about how we can assist you, please contact us today at (410) 324-3267.