Divorce Solutions

Question #39

 Please let me know if I can file for an annulment. I believe my case falls under the categories of fraud, duress, and the marriage never being consummated. I got married almost two months ago in Hawaii. My husband resides over there. He lived in New York until he moved to Hawaii at the end of 2002. He is in this country illegally (he overstayed his Visa). I reside in New York and am a US citizen. When we decided to get married, it was because we were in love, and always discussed that I would go back to Hawaii to be with him right away.

When I got there, I had second thoughts, but he kept pushing me to get married. Reluctantly I got married, and ever since then, his attitude has changed completely. My mother came with me to Hawaii, and the very next day, we had an argument because he needed me to help him sign a lease for an apartment for him, and we arrived a little late to see the owner of the apartment. He said it was my fault we were delayed, and that I didn’t care about him and his situation, and that I never cared. During the argument, he told my mom he had to force me to marry him, and he felt like he was taking me to execution, not our marriage. My husband and I never consummated the marriage or the relationship. Because we are both Catholic, we always said that we would consummate the marriage after we were married by the church. The problem is that before we got married, he told me he would file for a work permit, using our marriage certificate, and I would come back to him right away. He has not done that. Now, he tells me the only reason we got married was to help him with his immigration situation. This is something we never discussed, and I never told him I would marry him only to help him with that. I never knew of the severe problems involved with him and immigration laws. He always led me to believe that I would never have to get too involved with the immigration situation, (i.e., he could file for whatever papers he needed by himself, and that maybe I would be interviewed by an immigration lawyer after about a year). I believed him since a few of his friends are immigrants, and one of them is an immigration lawyer. He has been very aggressive and hurtful with his words since we got married. All he talks about is how I need to be there to help him; that he cannot do anything about his legal status unless I am there. He is concerned that immigration would get suspicious of us since we live apart. These are things he never told me before getting married. He continually tells me that I never wanted to help him with anything. I helped him get insurance for a car he purchased so he could get to work, and when I called the insurance to find out about the policy, they informed me there was something wrong with his payment, and they never received it. Also, they had an incorrect address for him on file. When I told him about it, he again was aggressive and attacking with his words and said to me that I don’t care to help him and only cared about my credit. He again repeated that I need to be there with him because without my being there, he cannot proceed with fixing his legal status. Before we got married, he always told me he would never want to put me in an uncomfortable situation regarding his legal status because he loved me too much and respected me too much to put me through any of it. Now he tells me he doesn’t want to seek any legal help unless I am there because he won’t be able to do anything. I honestly believed that we got married because we loved each other. We have known each other for a few years, and when he moved to Hawaii, he said he had moved to paradise and that things could be very nice for us, and life could be easier since things have not been so great in New York since 9/11. Now, all he keeps telling me is that we only got married so he can fix his immigration situation and that I never really cared about him, or ever wanted to help.

You do not indicate how long you are married. From the information that you provided, the level of duress necessary does not seem to be present in your case. However, if you can support your allegations that you were deceived into believing that immigration was not a factor in his decision to marry you and it was the only consideration, you may be able to convince the judge that your spouse married you under fraudulent representations and that an annulment is warranted.

You may also be able to file for divorce based on some other grounds, especially if we can have the cooperation of your spouse in this matter.
If you’re living in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for an appointment to discuss the matter had greater length.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions