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An Annulment from a marriage can be given for many reasons and the law may vary from state to state. Below are some common reasons for an annulment to occur.
1st) A misrepresentation of character
2nd) Not consumating the marriage (generally within the first year).
3rd) If either spouse was already married at the time of marriage.
4th) If one of the spouses was under age.
5th) The marriage was entered into because of force, duress, or fraud; or one of you was mentally incompetent or under the influence of alcohol or other incapacitating drugs at the time of the marriage.
In each of the circumstances listed above you need an attorney to help you decide whether you should try for an annulment because each of these grounds has exceptions which cannot be fully explained here.
For example, if you get married while you are drunk out of your mind but you continue to live with your spouse after you sober up you will waive your right to get an annulment. (Dennis M. Wallace)
For more information see: http://www.divorceinwa.com/Answers.html#annulment.
What is a marriage contract? What do I need to include in one?
It depends on your definition of a marriage contract. Currently, there is a push in our society for couples to discuss their marriage before hand and make a contract of what they will and will not do in marriage. This is one example of a marriage contract. Some people view a marriage contract as the vows that couples make at the alter. Again this is something that a couple can do prior to marriage and something that is agreed upon at the wedding ceremony. In terms of what you put into a marriage contract I would encourage you to talk with your fiancee about it and make some agreements before your marry.
Some people also consider prenuptial agreements as part of a marriage contract. This, however, is a legal document that includes attorneys in most instances. This type of a contract has more to do with finances and money related issues.
There are two ways tht you can look up the laws in a particular state. The first thing you can do is go to a search engine like www.google.com and type in the name of the state followed by the word laws (ex. California Laws) what will come up is thousands of websites, the one you want will be the official state website giving the codes and statutes. In the webaddress will be the abbreviation gov and possibly the abbreviation legis. The second way is to go to www.netlizard.com. You will see four boxes one is titled codes and laws or codes and statutes, click on that and a screen will appear that has all fifty states listed in alphabetical order, scroll down to the state that interests you and click on the state name. Once you are on their site(and some are better than others) you will want the laws, codes and statutes, specifically family or domestic law. Could be listed under civil law, it really depends on the website. Some of the states while they are listed, do not have working links from this site, so I only use if for states that I know for a fact the links work. Be patient researching this way, it takes time to find what you want.
Like a will, a prenuptial agreement is best handled through an attorney if the parties want it to hold up in court. A family law attorney would be a good choice. Also like a will, there can be a written, signed, and witnessed contract that may or may not hold water in the event of a divorce. Cost is too variable to estimate. Attorney rates average $100-200 an hour, and you can expect to be charged for the time it takes to describe what you need, for any phone calls you make, for the preparation of the papers, and for filing the paperwork with the court. When you consult with attorneys, you can ask them to estimate based upon a outlined list of what you want the agreement to contain, etc.