How do you know if you should hire an annulment attorney? If you are considering divorce in Arizona, you may wonder if getting an annulment is an option for you.
Divorce and annulment are both means of ending a marriage. A divorce is a dissolution of marriage that recognizes the legality of the marriage, splits assets and debts accumulated during the marriage, and assigns child custody, visitation, and child support of the couple’s children.
An annulment is different in that once it is granted, the marriage never legally existed. In Arizona, a petition for divorce can be filed without fault from either spouse, since it is a no-fault state. An annulment, however, will only be granted if certain criteria are met that refute the legality of the marriage in the first place. The criteria that may refute the legality of a marriage are listed as follows:
- There was a blood relationship between the spouses such as siblings (both full and half-blood), grandparents/grandchildren, niece/uncle, aunt/nephew, and first cousins.
- A prior marriage that is still in effect
- One of the spouses was underage
- Lack of mental or physical capacity
- Inability to consummate the marriage
- The absence of a valid marriage license
- Duress (being coerced or threatened)
- A party to the marriage is a bigamist, concealed a criminal past, or communicable disease
- Fraud and misrepresentation of religion
- Other grounds that the court finds are a valid basis for the annulment
In order to get an annulment, one spouse must file in Superior Court, like divorce. Keep in mind that it is possible that the judge will not grant the annulment, and then one spouse will need to file for divorce to end the marriage.