Vascianna v. Vascianna
Connecticut General Statutes §46b-40(b) provides, "[A]n annulment shall be granted if the marriage is void or voidable under the laws of this state or the state in which the marriage was performed." Allegedly, the parties met in November 2010 and married in December. The wife, who earns $26,000 per year as a legal assistant, anticipated that after the marriage, the parties would live together in Manchester, Conn. The husband, who was born in Jamaica and entered the U.S. in 2009 as a visitor, continued to reside with a relative in East Hartford and then apparently moved to New York City. After the marriage, the wife and the husband allegedly visited an immigration lawyer's office and incorrectly indicated that the husband and wife lived together in Manchester. In May 2011, the husband allegedly suggested that if the wife would remain married and live separately, he would pay the wife money. The wife, shocked and surprised, requested an annulment and claimed that the husband married to obtain a green card and never intended to live together as a married couple. Annulments are not favored. A strong presumption exists that a marriage is valid. A party that requests an annulment possesses the burden of proof. The court credited testimony that the parties did not live together during the marriage and that the wife would not have married, if she had known that they would not live together. The husband did not deny that he offered the wife money to remain married while living in separate residences. The court found that the husband was unwilling to assume the obligations, duties and responsibilities of marriage. "[T]he plaintiff met her burden of proof of clear and convincing evidence," wrote the court, "that the defendant entered into the marriage under fraudulent pretenses." The husband's immigration status, refusal to live together, and offer of money to remain married led the court to conclude that he married to obtain a green card and legal residence in the U.S. The court granted the wife's request for an annulment and ordered the husband to pay $5,000 toward the wife's attorney's fees.