If my husband and I got married 32 months ago but now he wants an annulment, what do I do when I’m served it I think that we don’t qualify for an annulment?

As of a couple weeks ago, he decided out of the blue that he wants an annulment. His claim is that he was “of unsound mind” during the ceremony, and that he is a depressed person. The wedding was planned, there is a video, 17 witnesses, a pre-nup and he has no official medical diagnosis of depression. Not to mention we had been in a previous relationship together, we moved in together after the wedding, we went on a cell phone plan together, and we purchased a dog together. He claims that the legal aid’s he has spoken too at the court still think we qualify for an annulment, but everything that I read on the state courts website says that we do not. How do I respond when I am served?

Asked on October 21, 2015 under Family Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Ideally, you respond by turning the papers over to your attorney to respond for you. But if you don't have or can't afford an attorney, respond the way you did here by filing a response denying his claim of incompetence and affirmatively stating all the reasons to believe that he was competent at the time of marriage. You can find the exact proceedures (and possibly template or sample forms) from the court, either by going to the court website or contacting the clerk's office.
The above, however, assumes that you want to remain married--do you, if your husband now wants to treat your marriage like it was a mistake?
Also, bear in mind that while he might not be eligible for an annulment, he certainly can get a divorce--the law does not force people to remain married. Therefore, if he can't get an annulment, he can still divorce you. Since you can't ultimately stay married if he is determined to leave, you may wish to consider whether its worth it for you to fight the annulment. Certainly, there are different consequences, including in regards to property and support, from a divorce vs. an annulment, so a divorce may be advantageous to you if so, it may make sense to fight the annulment. But if the economic impact of one vs. the other would be slight on you, it may make sense to let him have the annulment, since if you don't, he'll still be able to get a divorce.


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