In Florida, a marriage can be dissolved through a divorce or through an annulment. A party is not required to assert any “grounds” in order to seek a divorce; however, a party must allege “grounds” in order to seek an annulment. The grounds for an annulment in Florida include:
- One of the spouses lacked the ability to consent to the marriage at the time of the ceremony (i.e., one spouse was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the ceremony)
- One spouse is impotent, which was unknown to the other spouse didn’t know it at the time of marriage (i.e., lack of capacity to consummate the marriage)
- One spouse is underage and entered the marriage without the consent of a parent or guardian.
- The marriage is void because it’s bigamous, incestuous, or because one spouse is permanently mentally incapacitated and unable to consent to marriage.
A party will likely be deemed to have waived his or her right to seek an annulment if the party was aware that the grounds set forth in the Petition for Annulment existed at the time of the marriage and entered into the marriage anyway. A party will also be unable to seek an annulment if he or she ratifies an otherwise void or voidable marriage. For instance, in Lambertini v. Lambertini, 655 So. 2d 142 (Fla. 3d DCA 1995), the Third District Court of Appeal held that the Husband was prohibited from seeking an annulment, regardless of whether the parties’ marriage was void, due to the fact that the parties cohabitated together for 30 years, raised two children within that time, and always held themselves out to be husband and wife.