In California, an annulment may be granted if a marriage is found to be void or voidable. Unlike a dissolution or divorce, a person asking the Court for an annulment must prove why their marriage is invalid.
Despite public perception, an annulment has nothing to do with the length of a marriage. A 2 week marriage may be valid, while a couple married for 20 years may in fact have a void marriage based on mistaken bigamy.
There is a distinction between void marriages, based on incest (Family Code §2200) and bigamy (Family Code § 2201), and voidable marriages, based on minority, unsound mind, fraud, force, or physical incapacity (Family Code § 2210). A void marriage is one that was invalid from the beginning, where a voidable marriage is one that must be decreed invalid by a judge and court order.
Annulments are complex and may be difficult to obtain because of the proof that must be shown to the Court. If you believe you may qualify for an annulment, you should seek legal advice to discuss the impact that an annulment will have versus a divorce.