By Peter Van Aulen, Esq.The Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment in NJ
The main difference between a divorce and an annulment in NJ is that divorce ends a marriage, but an annulment nullifies a marriage as if it never occurred. Also, unlike a divorce, there is no residency requirement of having to live in the State of New Jersey for one year before being permitted to file. To file for annulment in New Jersey, a person just has to be a valid resident at the time of filing the complaint.Alimony, Child Support, and Equitable Distribution
Under New Jersey Law in an annulment proceeding there is no equitable distribution of assets. Therefore, the Court will not divide property that was acquired during marriage under the equitable distribution statute. However, a party may be able to divide assets under contract law. However, the Court in New Jersey is able to award alimony and child support in an annulment proceeding.Grounds for Annulment in NJ
According to the annulment statute, a New Jersey Court will grant an annulment for the following reasons:
- When either party has another husband, wife, domestic partner, or partner in a civil union alive at the time of the subsequent marriage or civil union.
- When the parties are related within the degrees prohibited by law. However, if the marriage or civil union was not annulled during the lifetime of the parties, the validity of the marriage or civil union will not be questioned after the death of either party.
- When, at the time of the marriage either party was physically and incurably impotent. However, the statute requires that the spouse requesting the annulment was not aware of the impotency or incapability when the parties were married and has not afterward approved of the marriage.
- When either party lacked the capacity to marry or enter into a civil union due to a lack of understanding because of a mental condition or influence of drugs, intoxicants, or similar agents, and the parties have not later ratified said marriage or civil union.
- When there is a lack of mutual assent to the marital or civil union relationship, and the parties have not later ratified said marriage or civil union.
- When there is fraud or duress as to the essentials of marriage, and the parties have not later ratified said marriage or civil union.
- When a party is under the age of eighteen (18) at the time of the marriage or civil union and has not ratified said marriage after reaching said age.
- When permitted under the general equity jurisdiction of the Superior Court.
The impotence grounds can transpire when one party is unable to consummate the marriage or refuses to do the same. The lack of capacity grounds can occur when one or both parties are so intoxicated and decide to get married on an impulse. The fraud grounds can exist if one party marries only for immigration purposes, and the other party is not aware of their true intent. Also, the fraud ground can occur when one party misrepresents his or her aspiration regarding having children or misrepresents his or her religious beliefs. It is important to note that a civil annulment is different from a religious annulment. If you are interested in having your marriage annulled through your religious body, you should seek the advice of your religious counselor. One of the biggest decisions when someone decides to end a marriage is whether to seek an annulment in New Jersey or a divorce. It is important to note that annulments are usually more difficult to receive than divorces, and therefore can be more expensive. You need to prove one of the above factors in order to get an annulment. However, to receive a divorce you only have to state that there are irreconcilable differences. If you have any questions about an annulment in New Jersey call Peter Van Aulen today for a free initial consultation at 201-845-7400.