When it comes to marriage annulment, Hollywood seems to portray it as a legal concept exclusive to hasty Las Vegas weddings and drive-through chapels. In reality, annulment is not an uncommon way to end a marriage that, by law, was not valid. Here in Arizona, annulment is more common that you think; keep reading to learn more.
What is an Annulment?
Like divorce, an annulment is a legal way to define your marital status. The primary difference between the two is that divorce ends a valid marriage, while an annulment is a legal affirmation that the marriage in question was invalid and nonbinding.
In order to request an annulment in Arizona, you must file a petition for annulment at an Arizona superior court, and the person you are currently “married” to must file a response. You will both be called to appear in court before a judge, and will have to present testimony that at least one of the following situations existed:
- One of you used force or fraud to get the other party to agree to the marriage
- One or both of you lacked the mental or physical capacity to get married (including intoxication)
- One of you concealed your prior marital status or was married to someone else
- One of you was a minor at the time of the marriage without proper guardian consent
- The couple did not have an official marriage license
- The couple has not had sexual relations
- The couple is related by blood
- One of you misrepresented religious beliefs
While there are a few other situations that the judge may find acceptable, these are the most commonly accepted grounds for annulment.
After the Fact: Does Annulment Have the Same Effect as Divorce?
Because an annulment proves that your marriage was invalid, the effect if very similar to that of a divorce. Establishing custody and parenting rights can be tricky at first, but once paternity is established, the court can determine matters of custody and child support along with your annulment. Unlike a divorce, however, your marriage was never legally valid; this means that the court cannot award alimony. A unique benefit of having your marriage annulled in Arizona is that your shared property with your spouse will be divided.
Call an Experienced Family Law Attorney When Considering Annulment
When you are considering an annulment, having the knowledge and support of a strong legal team can help ensure that you get the results that you want. The Phoenix family law attorneys of Curry, Pearson & Wooten can help you pursue a successful annulment petition—call us now at 602-258-1000 to learn more.