Monday, October 27, 2008

Legal Advice on Divorce and Marriage

Cordell & Cordell Attorney, Ben Porter, recently penned an article on divorce and annulment which appeared in full on This post highlights some of the point that Mr. Porter makes in addressing annulment specifically in Georgia where he practices, but also in general elsewhere.

In order to understand when an annulment is warranted, two points must be clarified. First, unlike a divorce, an annulment effectively deems the marriage invalid from its inception. As such, it is as if a marriage never occurred. Second, annulments are statutorily constructed and thus can only be analyzed through a state-specific lens.

Marriage is a civil contract between two individuals which the state has a vested interest in preserving. Thus, it is in many ways accurate when someone tells you that it is much easier to get married than it is to get divorced. As difficult as it is to get divorced, getting a marriage annulled is even more challenging. In Georgia, as in most other states, annulments are extremely rare and only granted in unusual circumstances. This is because an annulment is a legal decree or a judicial declaration which acknowledges that the marriage, which was sanctioned by the state, was a sham and is now deemed void.

To be validly married in the state of Georgia one must satisfy what each of what have been coined the “three C’s” including capacity, consanguinity, and consummation. The grounds for seeking an annulment in Georgia are limited to grounds which would deem the purported marriage void. One may be entitled to an annulment where one of the following requirements is satisfied: 1) You and your spouse are related beyond the limits of consanguinity including one the following: parent/(step)child, grandparent/grandchild, aunt/nephew, or uncle/niece; 2) You did not have the mental capacity to enter into a contract; 3) You were under the age of 16 when you entered into your marriage; 4) You were forced to enter into the marriage; 5) You were fraudulently induced to enter the marriage; or 6) Your spouse was married to another living spouse at the time you entered into the marriage.

Many persons reading the above list may feel convinced that they have been duped into entering a marriage. However, courts have been very hesitant in permitting a spouse from contending that their partner tricked them into marriage. Finding out that your partner is a “shopaholic”, “neatfreak”, “couch potato”, or even an alcoholic post-marriage does not justify an annulment. Courts have isolated annulment claims based on fraud to those regarding sexual relations and child rearing. For example, although incurable impotence is not alone a grounds for divorce in Georgia, an individual who knows she cannot bear children but assures her spouse that she can prior to the marriage may be a sufficient basis for such an allegation. Moreover, even where an individual has been fraudulently coerced into marriage, he cannot assert a claim for annulment where a child has been born to the relationship prior to or after the marriage (or has been therein conceived). This exception was reached in an effort to promote legitimacy of minor children when possible.

Others may attempt to argue that if they never engaged in sexual intercourse with their spouse, their marriage was never consummated and thus, should be subject to annulment. In Georgia, at least, this argument will be unsuccessful because “consummation” in this state is defined as the exchanging of vows or the marital ceremonial, rather than participation in sexual intercourse as is commonly misconstrued.

If the annulment is granted, the consequences are numerous. First, and most significantly, an annulment shall void the purported marriage and likewise reinstate the party’s to their pre-marital status as if no marriage ever occurred. Thus, a party may marry another individual immediately after the court issued a final order granting the annulment. Second, and consequentially, property owned by the parties will be awarded to the original owner and not subject to equitable division. There is authority, however, which permits the party who entered into the purported marriage unknowingly to receive a distribution of the property and other similar equitable relief from the party who knew of the incapacity or other impediment to marriage.

For example, a married man who attempts to wed another woman without first having his first marriage dissolved may be forced to suffer the consequences of property distribution as if he did enter a valid marriage. Thus, although the typical divorce statutes regarding property distribution may not apply, parties to an annulment may also have property disputes resolved. Third, an annulment does not relieve one of criminal sanctions for bigamous or incestual behavior which yielded the annulment nor does it provide shield against common law tort action for fraud. Fourth, just as in a divorce case, an individual who successfully annulled a marriage may have their former name restored among other things.

For more information on issues of divorce, alimony, child custody and support and other issues important to men and fathers, go to

Rick Ortiz is editor of, a free resource for men and fathers featuring legal articles penned by the attorneys of the world's largest family law firm focusing on men, Cordell & Cordell, PC.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Collussion or agreement to annul marriage

Today, I receive an inquiry about annulment.

Here is the question:

"I wanted to use my maiden name again. I am separated for 5 years and my ex-husband already has a family of his own. We signed an agreement that both of us can already find partners of our own."

Much that I wanted to end her ordeal, what she said closed the doors for freeing her up. She is from the Philippines, and under the Philippine Law, divorce is not legally accepted. Legal separation though may be accepted but still she will be married to her husband even under the legal separation law.

Another thing, the agreement she mentioned do not free her from the marital tie. Actually, if you show that document in court, your petition for nullity will be denied.

The agreement is called "collusion". Meaning both parties agree or connive to dissolve their marriage. No psychological issue, this is how I think of it.

She cannot use her maiden name because up to this time, she is still legally married to her husband. The marriage of her husband to the other woman is therefore not accepted by law.

If she knows of any reason to annul her marriage, she should have done it by filing for nullity in court.

To help those who wants to seek nullity of marriage. Here are some known grounds for filing for nullity under the Philippine Law.

1. Marriage under 18 years of age.
2. Marriage solemnized without a license.
3. Polygamous marriages.
4. Force or intimidation
5. Fraud in obtaining consent
6. Inability to perform the duties of marriage including incapacity for sexual intercourse.
7. Insanity

There are other grounds you may think of but these are the grounds that the law specifically states.

So, for those who needs the relief of nullity, consult your lawyer. He is the best person to give you advice.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not infidelity but an ED

Do you feel frustrated? He does not make love to you anymore? Are you feeling unattractive and taken for granted? If you are like me, you would have run to your lawyer’s office, filed your divorce application and packed you bag. Later on, I find that this decision is wrong.

I know how you feel, the fire has gone, he is probably doing it with another and surely, he will file for divorce anytime from now. You think that you might as well file it ahead of him just to save your face? I definitely understand how you feel.

However, I regretted my decision. I never knew there was a problem. I never cared; he does not like me anymore, might as well find love outside.

It is not infidelity, it is an ED. Erectile dysfunction, a subject men hate to talk about because it is an attack to their masculinity. The problems is that it would not stand anymore.

Because men are too ashamed to talk about their inefficiency, they often ignore invitation for a night rendezvous. Men go home late and intoxicated. This however is not because he met with another woman; it is because he does not want to try anymore. He is often frustrated if he failed to satisfy you. He will not dare try it again because he feels humiliated.

If your husband is having this problem, please do not file for divorce; help him by accompanying him to the doctor. This is a serious condition because almost 70% of erectile dysfunction cases in the United States are due to health problems. Some of the erectile dysfunction cases brought to doctors are linked to major health problems like diabetes, heart disease, vascular disease and other degenerative diseases.

Do not ignore erectile dysfunction, this can be something serious. Additionally, if it is just psychological your doctor is also the person to ask. He can give you treatments that will bring back the fire in your relationship.

Do not file for divorce, check the source of the problem and try to remedy the problem side-by-side with your man.


Josie P. de Dios is a freelance writer with tons of articles on health and travel published both online and in print. She is also the author of an e-book on Antioxidant entitled “Be Healthy for Success”. View some of her work at, and

Friday, June 8, 2007

Informing Children of Divorce

Are you having problems with your spouse? Are you already thinking of divorce? The law on divorce varies from state to state. There are countries that are liberal in allowing divorce, there are countries that require a certain dictum to allow divorce and there are countries that do not recognize divorce in anyway.

Whichever the case may be, there is one thing you need to consider before filing for divorce, the children. I am not saying that if you do not have children you can file divorce unthinkably. No because there are requirements and preparations including the IRS, support and properties.

However, if you are having irreconcilable differences with your spouse or he is involved in an extramarital affair and physically abusive, then by all means file for divorce. However, before you do, please tell the children. They should know and should be given the opportunity to ask questions.

This is to avoid confusion on their young minds. This may also avoid them from thinking that they are the reason why you are separating or divorcing. They need to understand because if you feel that your issues are hurting you, I am sure they are hurting more than you do.

No child would feel good seeing their parents argue and curse each other.

The difficult question is how to tell the children.

Child psychologists recommend the following:

Discuss and agree with your spouse the arrangement about visitation rights, pickup and sendoff including children occasions. Discussing this issue before the family meeting will avoid blaming and arguing in front of the children.

Tell them you have problems and these problems are irreconcilable in nature. Tell them that you are divorcing. Assure them that they are not in anyway to blame with the problem and that you discussed the issue for a long time before you finally decide to file for the divorce. Please talk to them appropriate to their age. If they bombard you with questions, be patient. They ask questions because they want to understand.

Assure the children that there is no such thing as divorce between children and father or mother and that you already planned how they will be taken cared of after the divorce. Tell them in a language they will understand the plan you set on Step 1.

Assure them that on their important occasions and even school activities you will be present and please, when you commit to be present. Make sure you will be present or your children will be most hurt.

If you must discuss with them how the process of the divorce goes. Invite question and answer those questions patiently.

Both parents needs to be talking, do not allow only one of you talking because a parent being quiet sends them a message that one is not agreeable to the matter at hand.

After a few days, you may invite them again for a meeting for them to discuss how they feel, what they are thinking and what they want. They may ask questions again and please, you need to answer them sincerely and patiently.

If you feel hurt, they will feel it too in two-folds. Make sure that you explain in all instances that they are loved by both of you. Do not talk ill about your spouse with your children. No child ever wants to hear ill words against any of their parents.

Divorce is ugly in more ways than one. However, if this is the last resort you have to gain back your self-confidence to be able to face the future. Do so with caution. Do not allow yourself to be a victim because you do not want to hurt your children. Always remember that whatever decision you make you consider them part of it.

No blaming, just move on and have a life. Your children will feel better if they see you are taking it cool.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Children and Parent Divorce

Family is the basic concept of the community and in the eyes of a child; family must not separate in anyway. This is one crucial part in separating spouses who has children that may be affected by divorce or separation.

Child Psychologists believe that parents needs to consider their children when thinking of divorce or separation.

Any laws on marriage, even divorce has keeping the family intact as its core. However, if keeping the union detrimental to the parties involved, then divorce may be inevitable.

In order to help you manage your relationship with your children and the process of divorce, Child Psychologists’ advice the following:

1. Never argue or bad mouth your spouse in front of your children. Children will never want to hear negative things about either of their parents.

2. Before, during or even after the divorce process, parents need to attend important occasions involving your children. This will help avoid confusion in the mind of your children.

3. Depending on the child’s age, you may need to explain the reason for the separation or at the very least discuss with them how you will still be around when they need you. You may also discuss visitation schedules and keep your promise to show up during pick up and drop off.

4. Ensure that you will make every time with your children as active, lively and fun for them. Movies, sports activities and even exercising may be fun if you and your child do it together.

5. Always reassure the children how both of you love them, and that whatever conflict that transpired they have nothing to do with it.

Considering their feelings and making things easy for them will help your children deal with the pains of divorce and separation.

Finally, the most important thing to do when you undergo divorce and separation process is to take care of yourself. Your children will feel that if you are ruined after the divorce or separation, they will feel doubly hurt.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Abandonment and support

Today, my one and only comment on the annulment forum posted way back 2005 reaped its 27th respondent.

The lady who wrote me asked how she can file for abandonment and support. She has a sickly son who is now 12 and not receiving any dime from the father. The father usually visits his son whenever he wishes but support is now where in sight.

This mother has to work far from her child just to earn a living. She is now asking about filing an annulment and seeking support.

The advice of the lawyer is for her to file for abandonment and support. This is a criminal case.

She only needs to prepare herself physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

Why is this so?

First, courtroom battles need your emotional strength to deliver your case. The lawyer of the other party will be grilling you enough that you will feel it better that you did not try this arena.

Secondly, stress will surely get in as you try to earn money and make time to attend hearings of your case.

Finally, you need to spend for filing fee, transportation, lawyer's fees and other miscellaneous fees.

Court battles as I have mentioned will take a lot from you. But for this lady, I feel it is the best route to take.

Many women refuse to get out of their comfort zone to avoid the grilling courtroom battle. They stop their fight because it may be uncomfortable; their husbands therefore luckily roam around conveniently because their wives will not file any case anyway.

This is wrong and therefore, I comment women who have the courage to fight their battle. They will surely win their war rather than just sit and carry the burden to raising their kids alone.

You can say life is unfair, if you allow it to be.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Divorce and Annulment Forums

I received another inquiry today about a woman abandoned by her husband. She seems bothered and helpless.

Why do you think these things happen to women? It is because of her vulnerability or is it because she falls in love to the wrong guy?

What reprieve do women have when faced with this situation?

Is it annulment? Is it divorce? Or do we fight for out right, i.e., claim support or fight of our man?

Some will tell you that to fight your battle but I think you need to know if you are fighting a winnable war. If you feel you lack information, lawyers can be helpful. However, this can be costly. Lawyers charge by the hour, thus forums on the web will be helpful because you will find people going through your same situation. You may also find answers to questions that you have yourself.

Divorce and annulment, which ever route you take may rob you of self-confidence. This is the reason why I believe that forums on this subject will help women undergoing marital problems.

There are two ways these forums can help you:

It will help you feel better because you will know that many women go through problems like this. You are not alone fighting a battle like this and you are not singled out by God to have marital issues.

Secondly, you will find answers in different forms, and you may not need to seek the costly lawyers’ advice.

Of course, I will be lying to you if I tell you that lawyers are not necessary. Actually, they are extremely necessary when you need legal reprieve already. But I tell you, forums can help clear the clutters in your mind.

Before I forget, one the other side of the fence, there are forums that may be negative to you as well. You may find a similar situation ending badly.

A point of advice; forums are where you seek help from people undergoing the same problems as you do. However, you do not need to be affected by what happened to other people. We are all difference species. What happened to one may not happen exactly the same to another.

So keep an open mind. If you cannot, then your lawyer can be a good source of information.

The web is a treasure throve of information, even for divorce and separation forums. So Google your way to freedom from marital issues!!!