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What are your community property rights after marriage annulment?

There are various legal requirements for the annulment of a marriage in California. While such action is often taken soon after the wedding date, some such unions last for years before one spouse applies for an annulment. During those years, assets may have been accumulated, and the couple may have had children together. What are the rights related to community property and children after an annulment?

The annulment of a marriage means that it was never legal; therefore, both parties will be denied all rights commonly afforded in a divorce or a legal separation. California is a community property state, but, if a marriage was legally invalid, rules pertaining to community property will not apply. The court will not divide property and debts as part of the annulment proceedings, and separate legal actions will have to be taken to claim ownership of assets.

A man who fathered children during a marriage that was subsequently annulled will have to establish paternity before he can claim custody of those children. Similarly, a mother can only claim child support once paternity has been established. She will also not be eligible for spousal support as her status as a spouse was never legal.

Under California law, there are exceptions , so it may be wise to consult with an experienced family law attorney to learn about your rights. You may have putative spouse status that may include some rights to community property and support. This commonly involves proving that you were totally unaware of the fact that the marriage was not legal. Proving this may be difficult without the assistance of a lawyer who will also inform you about the statute of limitations that applies to an annulment.

Source:, "Annulment", Accessed on Feb. 20, 2015

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