How to File for Annulment in Alabama Without a Lawyer
Before you spend time, energy, and money getting heavily involved in a divorce process in Alabama, make sure that your marriage can't be annulled first. Annulment in Alabama applies under certain circumstances that render the marriage either invalid at all or easily judged invalid with the right court filings. It all depends on whether or not your marriage was duly certified without having been done in violation of any of the annulment rules in the state of Alabama.
DoNotPay can make all of this easier for you, but if you'd like to learn about the marriage annulment regulations in Alabama yourself, we've also compiled this helpful guide.
Though there's no shortage of divorce attorneys ready to lead you through a lengthy ordeal, whether or not it's really necessary. Read on to learn whether or not you qualify for a marriage annulment and could handle it yourself or with the help of DoNotPay.
What Is an Annulment in Alabama?
Annulment is distinct from divorce in that the marriage was either void or is voidable due to some disqualifying precondition according to the state of Alabama's regulations.
With annulments, a marriage is void (already) if the issue is so great that it would be unconscionable to consider the marriage valid, like
- If one or the other party was unconscious, or even not fully conscious, under some kind of threat
- Being underage or close blood relatives also precludes the ability to get a valid certificate from the state.
As it's put in 16 American Jurisprudence 2nd ed., "A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one."
On the other hand, a voidable marriage is one that has some issue about its legitimacy, but it wasn't outright illegal, and the partners wish to consider it valid. In this case, the spouses may wish to affirm the marriage and have the state legally authorize it so that there is no question about it. A void marriage simply cannot be authorized as valid by the AL courts, even if both parties want it to be so.
State of Alabama Annulment
In AL, the burden of proof is on the one seeking the annulment. There are several conditions that can void a marriage in the state of Alabama. They include
- Forced marriage through physical or emotional duress
- Bigamy (already married)
- Spouse underage (16 years)
- Spouse under 18 years without the consent of the parents
- Incestual relationship
- Certain types of fraud
AL case law clarifies that the fraud must go to "the essence of the marriage relation." The courts view this as the case when a spouse fails to reveal their intention not to have sexual relations with their spouse, or to live separately. The basis of this is that the courts view sex and cohabitation as core aspects of a marriage. Similarly, failure to reveal a sexually transmitted disease is grounds for annulment.
On the other hand, lies about wealth, age, education and background, personal habits, and similar matters are not viewed as essential to marriage relations. That goes all the more if the court decides that the spouse should have been able to know such things.
Fertility is another matter that, in most states, is usually another form of fraud that makes annulment possible; but the Alabama Supreme Court decided that a husband isn't entitled to annulment if a woman knowingly and falsely says she can bear children when she can't.
In the state of Alabama, same-sex marriage is not recognized.
Don't Qualify for Annulment? Divorce Services Made Simple
If an annulment in Alabama doesn't apply to your situation, you can still have an easier time obtaining the divorce certificate and favorable divorce settlement agreement you need with DoNotPay's other marriage-related services.
Grounds for Getting an Annulment in the State of Alabama
Annulment requirements in AL are quite limited, and it's not necessarily easy to get one. However, when qualified for one, it is much easier and less expensive than a divorce – especially if you streamline the process with DoNotPay. AL decides whether an annulment should be granted or not purely based on the facts which would justify it, almost wholly regardless of time or other factors.
The state of Alabama code addresses annulment and other marriage issues in Title 30, Marital and Domestic Relations, especially Title 30 § 30-4-17.
Annulments can be granted for residents of AL even if neither spouse is still a resident when the annulment is filed. The reason is that the state of Alabama treats annulments as a matter of equity, which means that record correction should be done to reflect the truth of the matter above all. This principle also means that annulments can be granted by AL courts even if one of the spouses died.
The reason these federal territories, known as "states," are able to be so heavily involved in marriage and family matters is that what gives marriage certificates legal power is their contractual nature. This means that they can only be invalidated in the same way or by showing that a proper contract was never entered into. You can learn more about this by doing a search of the word "marriage" in this document, which describes how the state gets an interest in what used to be purely private matters.
Almost no one settles for an old school "common law" marriage now, and it would seem that leaving a place in bed for the govern-mente is the latest relationship kink – we aren't here to judge, though, being a mere robot lawyer after all, but we knew there was something up with all that "commercial intercourse" talk.
The point, though, is that all of this is related to civil annulments in AL, which legislates personal affairs of citizens of the state of Alabama. For religious annulments, you'll need to address these issues with the other strange man in the black robe (although there are some AL codes that address this to a limited extent).
How to Get a Marriage Annulled in Alabama
The minimum filing necessary is a Verified Complaint for Annulment. It's easiest when both parties agree that an annulment is in everyone's best interests, but you can seek an annulment on your own if necessary.
With an agreement between the spouses, annulment costs are nothing more than several hundred dollars for court filing fees. The exact amount will depend on which city. Without an agreement, the costs can easily go well into the thousands, especially if mediators or arbiters become involved, which can bring the cost to as much as $5,000 to 7,000. If you get a lawyer involved and must have witnesses testify and submit evidence, the costs go up for these reasons as well.
What Happens After an Annulment in Alabama?
Since the marriage is declared to have never legally taken place, the legal status of children comes into question. AL courts are given contractual authority to determine matters of paternity, enter support or custody orders, and other matters related to ensuring the children aren't left in legal limbo. Even though there may be some technical differences in how the children can be described, this is usually in name only. The AL courts usually give the child the same legal protections as for children of legally married couples.
The courts operate on a presumption of paternity for children born during the so-called marriage or within 300 days after it is annulled. To refute this presumption, the presumed father is the one with the burden of proof. Similarly, if the man received a child into his home and treated him or her as his own biological child, then there is also a presumption of paternity – at least, legally speaking.
Though AL courts can award child support costs, it cannot award alimony payments to the spouse except on a temporary basis to enable the poorer spouse to cover legal fees. With matters of property and asset division, there is much grey area in AL case law.
The majority view that there simply is no shared property to divide, given there was no true marriage, is the main precedent – but there are minority decisions that have concluded that there are nevertheless some situations when at least a partial division is within the powers of the court. In accordance with the majority view, neither party can be classified as a "surviving spouse" in an insurance policy.
Next Steps for Marriage Annulment in Alabama if You Need More Help
Because it can be very time-consuming, it's usually best to get the help of some kind. Most people simply run out and get a lawyer and often don't even know one very well. However, many people are finding out that it quickly becomes an out-of-control expense machine.
People need a streamlined process to handle these mind-numbing legal-administrative issues – and that process is here. DoNotPay has been doing just this for people in a wide variety of ways for small claims court, standardizing legal documents, or helping people simplify divorce and annulment procedures. We even notarize documents, file complaints with courts, and serve the papers according to the court's rules.
Solve Your Alabama Marriage Annulment Issues Instantly With the Help of DoNotPay
DoNotPay can file the proper annulment forms with the AL courts for you and ensure you stand the best chances of getting the court order you need to move on with your life. For less than the cost of 1/10th of an hour with a lawyer whose allegiance may be lacking, you can streamline the entire annulment process – and stand the best chances of success.
It only takes 3 steps:
- Search for Annulment on the DoNotPay website.
- Kick off the process to see if your marriage is eligible for an annulment.
- Answer some specific questions about your marriage and see if your state law allows for an annulment.
DoNotPay Also Works Across All States
We can help people get the annulments they seek in any state:
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
Beyond court services, DoNotPay has a full suite of administrative hassle-reducing services available to members:
- Virtual credit cards
- Find missing money
- Simplify insurance claims
- Notarize any document
- Stop stalking and harassment
- Streamline small claims court
Try it today!