Steven Fernandez |

Annulment

Erik Kramer, an ex-NFL quarterback, recently asked a Los Angeles court to annul his marriage. He claims that he did not have the mental capacity to consent to the marriage. According to reports, Kramer attempted to take his own life with a gun one evening in 2015. While he survived, he did suffer serious injuries, including brain damage. He argues that he was still recovering from the brain damage when his now-wife pushed him to get married. The request for the annulment cam shortly after Kramer’s wife filed for divorce.

Why Ask for an Annulment When Divorce Proceedings Are Under Way?

Kramer and his wife were married in early 2017. 18 months later, Kramer’s wife filed for divorce. In responding to the divorce papers, Kramer asked the judge to grant an annulment. Why would Kramer prefer an annulment to a divorce? The answer is simple: property.

When spouses get divorced in Los Angeles, each is entitled to half of all community property. Community property generally includes anything that was acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage. This can include:

  • Income
  • Retirement benefits
  • Intellectual property
  • Royalties
  • Commercial and/or residential real estate
  • Ownership in business ventures
  • Partnership interests
  • Stocks, bonds, and savings
  • Personal items, and more.

Kramer spent 13 years in the NFL. NFL players, especially quarterbacks, tend to earn a lot of money. It’s possible that Kramer also secured sponsorships and partnerships with companies and organizations. He may still earn royalties to this day. If he got divorced, his wife would be entitled to half of his property.

The same rules don’t apply when an annulment is granted. If Kramer got the marriage annulled, his wife would not be entitled to half of all community property.

When Will an Annulment Be Granted?

An annulment can be granted when there is proof that a marriage is void or voidable. If a marriage is annulled, it is as if it never happened in the first place. As a result, it can be a much simpler way to end a marriage.

Void Marriages

A marriage is void if it violates the law or is invalid for some other reason. Void marriages are invalid from the very beginning.

Incest: California Family Code Section 2200 states that a marriage will be deemed to be “void from the very beginning” if it is between:

  • Parents and children
  • Ancestors and descendants of every degree
  • Siblings (half and whole blood), and
  • Uncles or aunts and nieces or nephews.

Bigamy: Marriages will also be considered void from the very beginning under California Family Code Section 2201 if one of the spouses is already married to another person. In other words, you cannot legally be married to more than one person at a time. There are exceptions to this rule. A marriage may be void, even though a spouse is married, if:

  • The first spouse has been missing for at least 5 years, or
  • The first spouse is presumed to be dead.

Paperwork: A marriage can also be void if the spouses neglected to complete and/or file the appropriate legal paperwork.

Voidable Marriages

A voidable marriage is one that is presumed to be valid, but later declared to be invalid because of certain circumstances.

Fraud: A marriage can be voidable if the marriage was obtained by fraud. If a spouse later learns about the fraud but does nothing, the marriage cannot be annulled.

Age: Spouses must be at least 18 years old to get married in California. If it turns out that a spouse was not of legal age, the marriage can be voidable.

Mental Incapacity: Spouses must understand the full weight and consequences of marriage. If a spouse an prove that they were suffering from a mental incapacity, that prevented them from understanding what they were doing, the marriage can be voidable.

Force: Marriage must be entered into by two consenting adults. If there is proof that a spouse was forced into marriage, a court has the authority to annul.

Sexual Dysfunction: Sex is essential to a marriage. If a spouse suffers from a physical disability that prevents them from having sex and procreating, the other spouse can ask for an annulment.

Kramer has requested an annulment rather than a divorce. His wife has the right to contest any arguments he presents to support his case. A court will likely review the situation and determine if Kramer did, in fact, suffer from a mental incapacity at the time they were married. If they believe that he lacked the ability to knowingly consent to the marriage, they may grant the annulment.

Do you want to learn more about how to dissolve a marriage in Los Angeles? Our family law attorneys can help. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.