How to Appeal a Denied Annulment

By Stephanie Reid

If you are seeking an annulment from your spouse, the last thing you want to receive is a denial from the family court. Thankfully, there are ways for you to appeal the denied annulment, which generally involve filing an appeal with the next highest court in your state. Keep in mind, it is more difficult to win an appeal than it is to prevail in the original case, so it may be more advantageous to start over and file for traditional or no-fault divorce. However, if you are determined to overturn the judge’s denial, the law will permit you to at least try.

Understand the Reason for the Denial

The first step in preparing your annulment appeal is to fully understand the reasons why the judge denied your original cause of action. You should have received an official order from the court setting forth the facts of your claim and the judge’s holding. In most states, an annulment is an appropriate end to a marriage that was void in the first place. For example, a court may annul a marriage if one of the parties was underage, married to someone else, intoxicated, mentally ill or otherwise unable to consent to the marriage union. If an annulment is denied, chances are it is because the union did not fall within the recognized categories subject to annulment. In order to prevail in your appeal, you must prove that the family court made a mistake in holding your marriage ineligible for annulment.

Determine Your Argument on Appeal

The tricky part of appealing a family court judgment is that most jurisdictions do not accept new evidence on appeal. Appellate courts are only permitted to review the evidence presented to the original family court when making a decision. In most states, you are required to initiate your original request for annulment by filing a formal petition in family court. If you attached evidence to your original petition, that evidence may be considered on appeal. If, however, you did not present evidence to the family court other than your petition, the appeals court will be limited to the facts entered in your original petition. On appeal, you may restate your original legal arguments you set forth in your petition for annulment, as well as provide case law or statutes for the court to consider. A family law attorney should be able to help you gather the relevant information you need to draft an appeal.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

File Your Appeal

You must file your appeal within a specified time after the entry of your denial. This date will appear at the end of the judge’s order denying your petition for annulment. In many states, appeals must be filed within 30 days of the judgment date. You must file your appeal in your state’s first level appellate court. Many states have several levels of appellate courts before reaching the Supreme Court, so make certain you are filing your appeal in the correct court. Courthouse staff or an attorney will be able to direct you toward the correct appellate court for your appeal from family court. You should attach the denial order to your appeal petition so the appellate court is clear as to the family court judge’s opinion and order in your case. Other paperwork may be required by your state and courthouse staff may be able to direct you as to what forms must be filed with your appeal.

Attend Oral Argument

Not every appeals court will require you to attend an oral argument. However, you may wish to request an oral argument, or oral argument may be requested by the judges or opposing party. At an appellate-level oral argument, you will have a certain amount of time, usually around two minutes, within which to present your arguments to the court. The judges may, and often do, ask questions from both parties. If your case presents a unique fact pattern not considered by the courts in your state in the past, the judges may have a number of questions for you about your legal position. Working with an experienced family law attorney may be the best way to adequately present your case to the appellate court. However, it is not uncommon for pro se litigants to present oral arguments on appeal.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Statute of Limitations on Contesting a Will in New Jersey


Related articles

How to Get a Civil Annulment

You have the option to terminate your marriage through a divorce but, under certain circumstances, you may be able to “undo” the marriage entirely. When the court grants you and your spouse an annulment, it declares the marriage invalid. This process nullifies the marriage as if it never even took place. Do not confuse a civil annulment with a religious annulment. Religious organizations, such as the Roman Catholic Church, may grand spiritual annulments declaring a marriage invalid. Should you choose to remarry in the future, you can then do so without violating church doctrine. A religious annulment, however, does not dissolve your marriage in the eyes of the law. A civil annulment is the only form of annulment that severs the legal ties between you and your spouse.

How to Appeal a Divorce Decree From a Default Hearing

Default divorce occurs when one spouse files for divorce but the other does not participate in the proceeding. When a spouse files for divorce, the other has a certain number of days to respond. If there is no response, the petitioning spouse files for a default decree and usually receives any requested relief, as there is no objection. Requirements differ from state to state, but generally the non-responsive spouse may appeal the default within six months if he did not receive proper notice of the original proceeding.

How to Appeal a Divorce and Parenting Plan in Washington

Whether you live in Washington or any other state, you can usually save yourself a lot of time, money and stress if you can negotiate a parenting plan with your ex when you divorce. If you have to go to trial so that the court can decide custody, Washington law is exacting. The court even runs background checks on both parents. After the court makes an order, it can be difficult to undo it, but an appeal is one option.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Overturn a Dissolution of Marriage Final Judgment in Florida

A final judgment in a divorce case is the end result, whether you and your former spouse reached an amicable settlement ...

Can You Appeal a Judge's Decision in Family Court?

Family court decisions resolve many important issues related to divorce, including child custody, property and support. ...

Reconsideration of Divorce Decree

In some cases, you can ask the same court that issued your divorce decree to reconsider its opinion by filing a motion ...

How to Appeal a Judgment in California

In virtually every case decided by a California trial court, at least one party is unhappy with the outcome. If you ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED