The Truth - the Winning Argument for Your Case

10 May. 2012

Annulments Based on Fraud

Posted By The Buncher Law Corporation

Hollywood makes getting an annulment in California look easy: Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries' after 72 days of marriage, Nicky Hilton and Todd Meister after 2 months, Ali Landry and Mario Lopez after a few weeks, just to name a few.

Set the illusion aside and the facts will tell you that getting an annulment is no easy feat. Most courts apply the "Essentials of Marriage" when determining whether to grant an annulment; a set of guidelines that are subject to interpretation by the courts. For instance, it is assumed that when entering into a marriage that both parties will be able to fulfill the basic duties of their marital contract. Grounds for annulment would be actions such as bigamy, failure to have sexual relations or to conceive children, impotence, infancy and mental incompetency just to name a few. It does not cover is the character, chastity, prospective financial worth or matters of similar nature of a person.

Therefore, being that the demand proof from the couple is extremely high, the burden to prove that the marriage never existed due to some defect in the "essentials" can be very difficult.

In recent years, the definition of "fraud" has come into light as a possible "essential" as the courts have made a shift toward applying more subjective rather than objective tests for fraud. Fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain and/or to damage another individual. Under 'normal' circumstance, proving fraud is difficult. Proving fraud in an annulment case is doubly difficult.

Recently, The Buncher Law Corporation's Lauren Mullee successfully proved fraud in an annulment case. This was a situation where we took over and succeeded where prior counsel had failed. The case involved a marriage between a man, who had a child from a prior relationship, and our client. Our client agreed to marriage under the assumption that she and her fiancé would work toward getting the child out of the foster care system and create a loving two-parent home. Our client was compassionate, misled by her fiancé who was more interested in her money and less so in creating a home for his child.

Our legal team, led by Lauren's expert counsel, applied their experience with civil fraud cases and family law and came up with a creative and intelligent argument that made it easy for the courts to grant annulment, thus giving our client back her life as well as a fresh start.

In my opinion, the courts should hold a tight grip over how it grants annulment. Making a shift toward the more subjective test of fraud is a positive one, keeping in mind that not all situations 'fit' into the prescribed concepts of the "essentials of marriage."

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