Friday, December 23, 2016

When Is A Marriage Annulment A Possibility?

Virtually every newlywed couple dreams of forever when they say "I do." Unfortunately, the divorce rate in the United States is currently hovering around 50%, which means that roughly half of all new marriages will end at some point. Divorce is the most common means by which a marriage comes to an end, but it is not the only option. Today, our family attorney in Osage Beach MO is here to help educate you on another means by which marriages may end: annulments.


What Is An Annulment?

An annulment is similar to a divorce in that it marks the dissolution of a marriage. Unlike a divorce, however, an annulment wipes the slate clean and makes it such that, in a legal sense, the marriage never even existed. An annulment essentially declares a marriage "null and void." Couples who get divorced are recognized as having been married previously, but couples who get their marriage annulled receive no such recognition.

Why Get An Annulment?

Divorce typically results when couples who were rightfully married develop irreconcilable differences and consequently determine that separation is their best course of action. An annulment, on the other hand, is largely reserved for couples whose marriage is based on untruths, concealment, or invalid grounds. People who seek out annulments may do so because they are embarrassed by their marriage and wish to completely erase it, or for religious reasons.

Who Qualifies For An Annulment?

Annulments are very rare. Because they "erase" a marriage, couples must meet very specific requirements in order to qualify for an annulment. The following serve as a few general examples of the types of situations that may merit an annulment:
  • Concealment. If one spouse conceals extremely important or significant information from the other spouse prior to the marriage, the couple may qualify for an annulment. Examples of this type of information may include possessing sexually transmitted diseases, children from previous relationships, a felony conviction, or a substance abuse problem.
  • Incest. Close family relations are prohibited from marrying one another. If it is later revealed that the new couple is closely related (first cousins, siblings, half-siblings, etc), the marriage may be annulled.
  • Lack of Consent. A valid marriage requires the informed consent of both adults. If one of the spouses is not able to provide this consent, the marriage may qualify for an annulment. People who are under the age of 18, under an intellectual disability, or intoxicated at the time of the marriage may not legally be able to give consent. Lack of consent also applies to individuals who were forced into marriage.
  • Impotency. If one of the spouses suffers from permanent impotency, the other spouse may be able to seek an annulment providing that he/she was unaware of the impotency prior to getting married.
  • Fraud or Misrepresentation. If one of the spouses has lied about something significant, the other spouse may be able to seek an annulment for the marriage. An example includes lying about the ability to conceive children.

Considering An Annulment? Contact Our Center.

If you believe you may have the grounds for marriage annulment and wish to pursue one, consider reaching out to our family lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks. Our legal team can help you evaluate your situation to help you determine your best course of action. For more information about our family law services in Camden County MO, call us at (573) 552-0317 or visit our website at ODonnellLawCenter.com.


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Understanding Your Miranda Rights

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."

If you've ever watched a TV show or movie that depicts police officers making arrests, you've probably heard this warning uttered by the officers as they take individuals into custody. In real life, law enforcement's failure to properly deliver the Miranda Warning can be a critical component of criminal defense at the Lake of the Ozarks and around the rest of the country.


An Overview Of The Miranda Rights

The Miranda Warning serves to remind defendants of these rights:
  • The right to remain silent, as anything said can be used against you in court.
  • The right to consult with an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you.
  • The right to have an attorney present during police questioning under certain circumstances.

A defendant may invoke these rights before or during a custodial police interrogation. Once a defendant has invoked his or her right to remain silent or to have an attorney present, the police are legally required to terminate the interrogation.

The Trial Of Ernesto Miranda

Photo Source: PBS.org
The Miranda Warning dates back to the case of Miranda v. Arizona in 1966. A man named Ernesto Miranda was arrested for rape, robbery, and kidnapping and confessed to the crimes during police questioning. Miranda's confession was used as evidence against him; he was convicted and sent to prison.  The American Civil Liberties Union argued on appeal that his confession was coerced since he did not know he was not legally required to speak to the police when they interrogated him.  

The Miranda Warning Today

Ernesto Miranda's trial spurred the Supreme Court's ruling that suspects must be informed of their right to remain silent and to have an attorney present during police interrogation. 

Though there are exceptions, the Miranda Warning generally applies to suspects who are:
  • In police custody - the police are not required to issue a Miranda Warning until the suspect is taken into custody.
  • Under police interrogation - the police are not required to issue a Miranda Warning until an interrogation is about to begin.
Additionally, police are required to wait until the suspect specifically acknowledges that he or she understands their rights before the interrogation can get underway. Silence does not count as affirmation. 

If the police fail to follow the rules set forth in Miranda, statements made during the improper interrogation may be suppressed and deemed inadmissible at trial. However, if the suspect chooses to make spontaneous confessions or statements prior to the police delivering the Miranda Warning, those statements may be used in court. 

O'Donnell Law Center Is Here To Defend Your Rights

Our criminal defense attorney is dedicated to ensuring that defendants' rights are protected. If you are facing charges, we encourage you to contact O'Donnell Law Center for representation. 


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065