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Understanding the process of annulment in Florida can be crucial for those seeking to nullify their marriage. This comprehensive guide will explain what annulment is, the grounds for annulment in Florida. As well as, the legal process involved, and the differences between annulment and divorce. By the end of this article, you will be well-informed about annulment in Florida and how to proceed if you decide it is the right option for you. Florida does not have an annulment statue. It is a matter of common law.

What is an annulment?

An annulment is a legal procedure that declares a marriage null and void, as if it never existed. Unlike a divorce, which ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment retroactively invalidates the marriage from the start. This can have significant legal and personal implications, especially regarding property division, spousal support, and child custody.

Grounds for annulment in Florida

Florida law recognizes several grounds for annulment, each of which must be proven for the annulment to be granted. These grounds include:

  • Bigamy or Incest: One spouse is legally married to more than one person (bigamy), the couple is closely related by blood or marriage (incest), or the union involves two underage people, or because one spouse is permanently mentally incapacitated and unable to consent to marriage. Although these marriages are void by their very nature, it is still advisable to obtain an annulment.
  • Lack of Consent: The marriage is voidable because one of the spouses lacked the ability to consent to marriage. During the ceremony, the spouse was suffering from a serious, but temporary mental problem, or was under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or drugs.
  • Impotency: The marriage is voidable because one spouse is impotent, and the other spouse did not know it at the time of marriage.
  • Fraudulent Acts: The marriage is voidable because one of the spouses used fraudulent acts or misrepresentations to trick the other spouse into entering the marriage. Not all misrepresentations will qualify; a qualifying fraud goes to the essence of the marital relationship. For example, if a spouse married solely to obtain a green card for immigration purposes, this can qualify.
  • Underage Marriage: The marriage is voidable because one spouse is underage and entered the marriage without the consent of a parent or guardian.
  • Duress: The marriage is voidable because one or both spouses entered the marriage under extreme coercion or force. It must be proven to a court that the duress was present at the time of marriage, not a regret later.
  • Jest or Joke: The marriage is voidable because one or both spouses entered into the marriage as a joke.

The legal process of annulment in Florida

The annulment process in Florida involves several steps. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

  1. Consult an attorney: It is advisable to consult a family law attorney who specializes in annulments to understand your rights and the specific requirements of your case.
  2. File a petition: The spouse seeking annulment must file a petition with the appropriate family court in Florida. The petition should outline the grounds for annulment and include any supporting evidence.
  3. Serve the petition: The petition must be served to the other spouse, who then has the opportunity to respond.
  4. Court hearing: Both parties will attend a court hearing where a judge will review the evidence and determine whether the grounds for annulment are met.
  5. Judgment: If the judge grants the annulment, the marriage is declared null and void. The court will issue a final judgment of annulment.

Differences between annulment and divorce

While both annulment and divorce end a marriage, there are key differences:

  • Legal status: An annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed, while a divorce recognizes that the marriage was valid but has now ended.
  • Grounds: Annulment requires specific grounds to be proven, such as fraud or mental incapacity, whereas divorce can be granted on no-fault grounds such as irreconcilable differences.
  • Timeframe: Annulment is typically sought soon after the marriage, while divorce can be filed at any time during the marriage.

Implications of annulment

Annulment can have significant legal and personal implications:

  • Property division: Since the marriage is considered void, there may be different rules for dividing property acquired during the marriage compared to a divorce.
  • Spousal support: Annulment generally does not provide for spousal support, unlike divorce where alimony may be awarded.
  • Children: Children from an annulled marriage are considered legitimate in Florida, and issues of child custody and support are handled similarly to divorce cases.

When to consider an annulment?

Annulment in Florida requires meeting specific grounds and may help avoid divorce stigma or legal implications. Consulting a family law attorney is crucial to determine annulment feasibility and understand potential consequences.


Being informed about the process and implications of annulment in Florida is crucial for those considering this legal action. Understanding annulment grounds, steps, and differences from divorce can help you make an informed decision on how to proceed. For more detailed information, consult with a family law attorney.


FL Courts on Annulment


Alexander Alfano

Alexander Alfano is the Director and Chief Legal Counsel of Financial Legal Group INC. He is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), a member of the Federal Bar, and is licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.