Two Legal Hurdles

A big change to the California Family Code takes took effect in 2006. An amendment to the Family Code states that no person shall be granted physical or legal custody of, or unsupervised visitation with, a child if anyone residing in ther person’s home is required, as a result of a felony conviction in which the victim was a minor, to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290, unless the court finds there is no significant risk to the child and states its reasons in writing or on the record. That won’t be an easy hurdle to clear.

Title this case under the headline: Marry for love, not for money. In Marriage of Meagher and Maleki the California Court of Appeal recently held that you cannot get an annulment just because your spouse lied to you about his or her financial status. In that case, the wife was an affluent psychiatrist when she married her husband. The wife thought that her husband was a millionaire investor. After a few years of marriage, she began to suspect that he just married her for her money. Of course we all know the reverse is never true. In any case, the wife understandably wanted an annulment.

An annulment would benefit the wife because if the marriage didn’t exist, she could not be ordered to pay her husband spousal support, i.e. alimony. But the Court of Appeal said that you cannot get an annulment based on fraud if your prospective spouse lied regarding his or her financial status. In other words, if it turns out that your wedding ring is really “cubic” and not a diamond, too bad. So, the wife has no choice but to proceed with her divorce and therefore could end up paying her husband, who apparently was not a millionaire investor after all, spousal support. The Court of Appeal stated that if you want to get an annulment based on fraud it must involve one party’s intentions or abilities with respect to the sexual or procreative aspect of the marriage. Best to talk to an attorney about what that means.

For more information, please call Philip A. Wasserman at 661-294-8484 or email him at