In In re Marriage of Goodwin-Mitchell, the First Appellate District Court ruled that conduct after one party discovers possible fraud can prevent an annulment of marriage.
In this case, the husband was a resident of Jamaica and the wife a resident of California. The parties begin dating over the internet and started discussing marriage within two months. Within six months of meeting online, they were married. The wife requested a conditional two year visa for her husband. Within a week of the husband moving to the United States, the husband was soliciting call girls. Within several months he was jailed for acts of domestic violence against his wife. After the husband was released from jail he moved back in with his wife. They lived together for months and continued their sexual relationship.
The wife filed a petition for an annulment, and the family trial court granted the petition of nullity based on the fact that a spouse is entitled to fidelity from the inception of the marriage.
The appellate court reversed. The First Appellate Court recognized that a marriage can be annulled when the consent is obtained by fraud especially when one party does not intend to keep his or her marriage vows from the inception of the marriage. However, in this circumstance, the parties continued to live together after the wife discovered his infidelity. Once the wife continued the relationship, she waived her ability to challenge the marriage based on fraud. When a defrauded spouse discovers fraud but continues to live with the other spouse, then a nullity will not be granted.
Family Code Section 2210 A marriage is voidable and may be adjudged a nullity if any of the following conditions existed at the time of the marriage: (d) The consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless the party whose consent was obtained by fraud afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as his or her spouse.
If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a dissolution issue such as an annulment or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, custody, child support, spousal support, or property division, please consider Treviño Law in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.
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