According to celebrity news outlets, Little Women: LA star Christy Gibel wants an annulment five years after getting married to her husband Todd Gibel. The marriage is a small one, but the case does highlight some tiny distinctions between the grounds for getting an annulment and the grounds for a divorce – especially when time is short.
Small Marriage Big Problems
Christy filed new legal documents asking the court to annul her marriage to her husband Todd court records show. The couple got married on May 16, 2014, and they’ve had a turbulent relationship almost from the start, but the little problems have grown out of control.
Sources close to Christy tell TMZ she wants an annulment for two reasons — the marriage was never consummated and she’s accusing him of financial fraud. The TMZ sources claim Todd opened credit card accounts and took out loans under her name without her consent.
The case raises a few questions, the biggest being can an annulment be filed after years of marriage? According to TMZ in California, a person can get an annulment if there’s proof it was fraudulently induced.
Christy now wants out of her marriage – which she alleges has little sex. Some other huge problems, she claims her husband was making little effort to save the marriage and made it difficult for her and her 19-year-old daughter from another relationship.
According to TMZ it’s been a while since they’ve had sex, but they’ve had sex during the marriage. As for her accusations of financial crimes he says that will all come out in court. He adds his attorney has advised him not to talk about it until then.
As true ‘Little Women’ fans know the estranged couple talked about trying to have a little baby. Christy’s daughter even acknowledged hearing them trying. TMZ’s sources also report the short baby-making-talk was all just part of the show. They ultimately focused on trying surrogacy, but they never went through with it.
Florida Annulments are a Little Difficult
What if this short term marriage took place in Florida? I’ve written about divorce and annulment in Florida before. Florida does not have a statute authorizing annulments. The decision to divorce or annul a marriage will depend on certain facts.
Annulment has a long history beginning in England, and if King Henry VIII had been able to secure an annulment from the Pope, England might have remained a Catholic country. Today, annulment may best be known for rescuing Britney Spears from an ill-advised alcohol-related Las Vegas “bender.”
Because Florida is one of the handful of states that has no annulment statute, annulments in Florida are purely a question of common law, decided pursuant to the inherent equitable powers of the circuit court.
The historical common law “impediments” to marriage traditionally fell into two general categories: lack of consent and lack of capacity. This is substantially still the case law in Florida.
Lack of consent would include, for example, people who are related within certain degrees, and minors without parental consent. Lack of capacity includes marriages involving fraud, mental illness, sham marriages, and shotgun weddings.
While none of the “marriage” statutes in Florida specifically address purported marriages between one person and another person who is already legally married to a third party, bigamy is, of course, a crime. Bigamy raises the question: do you divorce or annul the marriage?
A Little Pettiness
While there doesn’t seem to be big reasons for an annulment, there does appear to be a few grounds for the divorce though. The reality TV star filed court pleadings asking a judge to grant her a temporary restraining order against her husband.
The allegations are that he is making life for her and her 19-year-old daughter from another relationship a little miserable. For one, Christy says he has been impersonating her via email and shutting her out of her social media accounts. She also suspects he’s been ripping up her mail.
On an even more petty level, Christy argues he has been unnecessarily raising the temperature in the house to unbearable levels. For that reason and others Christy says she fears for her life and needs a restraining order.
The TMZ article is here.