f a marriage falls into the category of void or voidable, you may choose to go through a marriage annulment rather than a divorce. While in a divorce you actually dissolve a marriage, a successful annulment will show that the marital status never existed in the first place. In California, for a valid marriage, the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary. This consent must also be followed by the issuance of a license, solemnization and authentication. A marriage is deemed void if it was never valid from the start.


It may be deemed voidable if it was incestuous, bigamous, created by force or fraud (such as immigration fraud) or if either person was under the legal age of consent or of an unsound mind. A person wishing to nullify a marriage must act within 4 years of the discovery of the voidability of the marriage (for example, the fraud) or it will become valid and thus, non voidable.

If you are seeking to annul the marriage based on fraud, the fraud must be considered vital to the essence of the marital relationship. For example; alcoholism, bad manners or low financial status prior to the marriage, will not be seen as fraud. However, the concealment of a persons sterility, refusal to consummate the marriage, drastically false representations and visa marriages (marrying for a green card) would all be enough to nullify a marriage.

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