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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12849
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I got married in the court to my on and off boyfriend who

Customer Question

Hi,
I got married in the court to my on and off boyfriend who has been verbally physically emotionally abusive all along (obviously behaved at times), mainly because I am 33 years old and got pregnant with a baby boy (24weeks+) now. i did not want to kill the child so wanted to be optimistic and take life on but just 3-4 days after its ok paper he has started being abusive again. I had thought marriage on paper will give him security and he will behave better but it got only worst. I am not sure if I can live my whole life like this. I am in NYC. Can I annul the marriage as it happened under duress. We once (2-3years) ago had a domestic violence case also against him but my optimism brought me to the worst. Please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

I'm sorry to hear about your recent troubles. What you are asking is for the court to void your marriage as if it never existed. Voidable marriages not automatically void, and a court judgment is necessary to have them void. A void marriage here is void from the date of the judgment of the nullity, not from the date of the marriage. Courts may also deny the request to have the marriage voided, and rule that the marriage should continue.

Since marriage is a social contract, both parties must knowingly consent to the marriage of their own free will. The marriage may be annulled as void if either party consents as the result of duress, force, or fraud.

An action under DRL 7(4) may be brought by the party, a parent of the party, a relative of the party who has an interest in annulling the marriage. The action may be brought during the lifetime of the offending party. For duress or force, the annulment may be brought at any time. The duress or force must be shown to have deprived the exercise of free will. In other words, you'd have to be able to show just what you stated -that you felt you had no choice but to marry him.

However, under New York State law, if the parties cohabit after the time of duress or force, no annulment will be given, as the marriage will be deemed ratified. In order to prevail in an annulment under DRL 7(4), the injured spouse must immediately cease cohabiting with the other party. You don't say how long ago you were married, but if it was not recently, and you have continued to live together, the court will not grant it.

Furthermore, because you are pregnant, even if you are not cohabitating, because you allege that he is the father, the court may deny the annulment and advise you that you must seek a divorce instead so that you can request child support and the child is provided for. I cannot say with certainty that this is what a court would do (as you could certainly file for child support once the child is born without being married) but it is a possibility.

Should you need clarification or additional information, please REPLY and I'll be happy to assist you. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I got married on Oct 15th 2015 and left his place on October 19th 2015.We did live together after June but I left him and moved to hotels couple of times in between because I couldn't tolerate him and his abuse manipluations.Only reason I have been with him is because of the child as I didn't want to kill my first child conceived almost at 34 years old age. I kept thinking of aborting but couldn't and had to marry him as pregnancy reached 24 weeks
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Okay, then I would say you did immediately cease cohabitating. It sounds like you gave it only a few days after getting married and as soon as he became abusive again, you left. So, I don't think the could would take issue with that.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I moved to my sisters place she is a student so has roommates who know I am here but I cannot drag them into the battle to prove I was there after I left. How am I going to prove when did I move out? I can move to a hotel today to have proof and receipts proving I was not with him. What do you advise, how can I prove I am not staying with him?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Your sister may just be able to sign a sworn affidavit that you moved in on October 19th. That's not really "involving" herself in the case. That's really the only way to prove that you are living there, unless there is someone else in the building who saw you as of that date and knew you were living there now, because even something like a change of address and having your mail forwarded takes days to process.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My sister is family so anyways she is involved and she saw him shutting abusing the other day and both of us came back to her place together. She can do whatever is needed and her roommates saw I was there but I don't want her roommates to get involved. Not even sure if roommates will. I did eat out and bought few items from Duane Reade outside her place hopefully that will help as well as I have transactions on my credit card. I took days off next couple of days as well from work. But as my sister is family so wasn't sure how strong that proof will be. Do you recommend me moving to a hotel today for few days to have proof?Also, I read somewhere that marriage can't be annulled in NY and you have to go thru the court proceedings to terminate marriage. Is that true-no annulments?I want to abort the baby if possible as I don't want him to be around me rest of my life so I will call a clinic today if abortion is possible but that may not be possible. With his child my life will be difficult to move on to another guy and get married again peacefully.What should be the next steps for me?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply. I apologize for my delay in responding, I had an appointment out of the office. I don't think you need to spend the money and stay in a hotel. Yes, granted that it could be argued that your sister is lying about you staying there, but I think any court is going to see that any person in your situation would first look to stay with family. And, the receipts you do have from the area can support you being in the area.

In NY, marriages can be annulled for certain reasons, such as duress. However, like I said before, under the law, you cannot be cohabitating, and since it's not automatic, but in a judge's discretion, even then a judge can find that the marriage should not be annulled.

At this point, I would make a consultation with a family law attorney in your area. Many offer free or low cost consultations. Ask about filing for annulment, and bring up any concerns you have. If the annulment is denied, or you decide that you don't want to pursue that avenue further, then you'd have to give thought to seeking a divorce from your spouse.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
All I care for right now is a peaceful life with a respectful understanding spouse or live alone than being with someone who is abusive and has been making my life a hell for so long. So wether it's annulment or divorce I don't care. I just want my life and happiness back.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

I understand, an that is certainly a peaceful request.

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