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New Jersey Annulments
Annulments in New Jersey

Like a divorce, an annulment of marriage in New Jersey ends a marriage; however, an annulment vacates the marriage - it becomes void - legally, it never existed.

Most New Jersey annulments end short marriages with few jointly accumulated debts and assets.

Once the judge issues an annulment, the marriage is void, as if the partners never married.

When an annulment takes place, property is distributed by title. Property belonging to the man goes to him, and property belonging to the wife goes to her; jointly owned property is divided equally.

Children, are still legitimate after an annulment, and this means that the father continues to be the father unless it’s proven otherwise. The courts may decide child custody and alimony.

The full text of the law governing annulments in New Jersey can be found in the New Jersey Statutes Annotated 2A:34-1.

Grounds

Here are the grounds for an annulment in New Jersey:

  • Duress: The partners married because one partner threatened the other. A person may file for an annulment if a threat of serious violence preceded the marriage.
  • Bigamy: A spouse has another living spouse. The second spouse must be unaware of the existing marriage and prove that the marriage was real. Bigamy is a criminal offense in New Jersey.
  • Under age: A marriage between one or two people below the age of 18.
  • Impotence: If a man is impotent at the time of the marriage and the condition is not revealed or conceded, the woman can be granted an annulment. This ground occurs when a partner is either unable to consummate the union or refuses to do so. In addition to impotence, an annulment may be sought if the woman conceals that she is unable to bear children.
  • Incapacity: A spouse lacks the mental ability or capacity to understand marriage. Incapacity often occurs when one - or both - of the spouses are intoxicated and decide to get married on an impulse. There must be informed consent at the time of marriage.
  • Incest: the partners are too closely related when one partner marries a blood relative.
  • Fraud: Any misrepresentation that alters a marriage may be deemed fraud, such as when one partner tell the other lies about their reluctance or desire to have children; when one of the spouses is an illegal immigrant who marries for citizenship; when of the spouses lies about being addicted to alcohol or drugs; when one of the spouses misrepresents religious beliefs, which at the time, were a major factor in the couple’s union; when the wife fails to tell her husband at the time of the marriage that she is pregnant by another man.

Procedure

The New Jersey Superior Court maintains jurisdiction over annulments. Unlike divorce cases, there are no residency requirements to file for an annulment, so long as one of the parties is a bona fide resident of the state when the case begins. The filing partner must confirm the facts of the case, and the action must meet one of the statutory grounds.

The plaintiff completes a Complaint for Annulment, which provides information about the spouses, their children, their marriage, and the grounds for the action. The plaintiff serves the defendant the annulment papers, which means that an adult delivers the complaint and annulment papers to the defendant. The person serving the papers completes an Affidavit of Service, which is returned to the court. Service of the papers includes a summons.

The filing includes a civil case information form, which provides a summary of the basic information for the annulment action. This form identifies the spouse’s names, their contact information and basic information of the case. The filing fee for an annulment in New Jersey is currently $200. Included in the filing of the complaint are two copies of the civil case information sheet and the original complaint form.

If the partner agrees to the annulment, the judge enters a decree of annulment without a hearing; if not, the judge holds a hearing. In a hearing, both partners testify and present other evidence so that the judge can determine whether an annulment is appropriate. If it is, the court grants a Judgment of Nullity.

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