Usually, an annulment action involves issues of property distribution together with problems involving maintenance, custody, and child support. Annulment nullifies the marriage, but not the legitimacy of the children born to the marriage. Parents in an annulled marriage have a duty to support their children born before and after annulment. Children born during the annulled marriage are considered legitimate, and they have the same rights as children of divorced parents. During annulment proceedings, when a wife applies for child support and the husband insists that he is not the father of the child, the court has jurisdiction over the paternity question.
Abandonment, also known as “desertion,” is a ground for fault-based divorce in a majority of states. Abandonment is defined as one spouse’s leaving the marital home without the other spouse’s consent and without any justifiable reason. Some courts have drawn a slight distinction between abandonment and desertion by stating that desertion involves an intention to sever the relationship, but abandonment does not have that requirement. Some state statutes require that there must be a continuous abandonment for a certain period of time before the filing of a divorce petition.
Under the law, a marriage is voidable in cases where either of the spouses is incapable of understanding the contract of marriage. Some states hold that if the party is incapable of understanding because of insanity or serious mental disorder, the marriage is void. Some state statutes provide that mental illness can be a ground for annulment if the defect prevents the afflicted spouse from appreciating the contract and conferring thoughtful consent to the marriage.
A divorce decree can facilitate an enforcement order, establish rights for both the parties, award custody and enable visitation rights, grant alimony, and distribute property between the parties. Considering the nature of divorce cases and the work involved in obtaining divorce, legal fees often differ from case to case. The fees can differ from city to city, state to state, and law firm to law firm. Preliminary meetings with counsel usually do not involve laborious effort, and usually amount to sorting the factual details. Courts take consideration of the parties’ ability to pay counsel fees before awarding fees. Despite the diversity in statutes, courts apply general principles and carefully analyze the parties’ financial status before awarding costs.
The divorce process can be a very emotional and trying time in one’s life. Often the process involves confrontations and complicated legal disputes. In recent years, divorce mediation has become more popular because it can be more effective, less costly, and yet a successful method for settling divorce disputes. Mediation is an alternative method of resolving matrimonial issues that are involved in divorce. It is a process in which couples can amicably work out marital, financial, and property-related disputes with the help of a neutral third party known as a mediator.