What are the requirements for an annulment in MA?

Jillian (Guest) on Thursday, September 27 2012, 07:56 AM
I have been married for 8 months, we have a 10 month old daughter. I just found out that my husband has a criminal background and has been using a fake name since I have known him. What are the requirements for an annulment in MA? How should I proceed?
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  • Replied by Attorney Michael Franklin on Tuesday, October 02 2012, 08:02 AM · Hide · #1
    In order to obtain an annulment you have to show that the marriage was based on fraud. It sounds like you would qualify for an annulment in your situation. However, your husband is still the child’s father and as such would still be granted some parenting time. If you are the primary caretaker of the child, there is no reason why this would not continue to be the case. Certainly, the Court would consider your husband’s criminal background and the reasons he thought it necessary to use a name other than his own in awarding custody and visitation rights. The Court will consider what is in the child’s best interests in making such a determination.
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  • Replied by Attorney Eric Schutzbank on Tuesday, October 02 2012, 08:03 AM · Hide · #2
    It is unfortunate that you’re going through this situation. There are various grounds for an annulment in Massachusetts. The one ground that might fit your situation is fraud. You would have to show that the fraud went to the heart of the marriage. The fact that your husband did not tell you about his criminal background would not likely qualify as grounds for fraud under the law. Providing you with a fake name would likely meet those grounds. It is also possible that your marriage was not valid in the first place if he used a fake name on the marriage certificate. That being said, you should be aware that granting of the annulment would mean that you would need to then file a separate complaint (either for Patenrity if he did not sign the voluntary acknowledgment at the hospital or for child support) to obtain any support and custody orders. It would be less expensive to file for divorce so that child support, custody and any visitation he might seek can all be dealt with at the same time. You should consult with experienced family law attorney to find out more about your rights and obligations in this matter.
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    Replied by Attorney Bill Mayer on Tuesday, October 02 2012, 08:05 AM · Hide · #3
    An action to anul a marriage can be brought in the probate court if the validity of a marriage is doubted. The statutory grounds include incest and bigamy, and do not include mistake, although you could obtain an annulment for fraud, impotency, duress or for other reasons. If the marriage is valid, then the remedy is to obtain a divorce.
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