Ajaxsubmit: Trigger Ajax Validation On Submit

I have a popup-style form that collects some data and sends it to the server via ajax. The form is validated through the standard ajax validation.

Since no real submit takes place, I would like to validate it right before the ajax call is made to send the data.

I had a ajaxSubmit button there, but this does not trigger the "validateOnSubmit" validation that happens with a regular submit button.

Is there is a way to trigger ajax form validation from javascript ? Because then I could replace the ajaxSubmit with that code + do an ajax submit myself.

Thank you