Divorce or Annulment?

by Norris Law Group on February 6, 2014

annulment1What many people know about the law comes from television. In many shows, if a couple has only been married for a short amount of time they get the marriage annulled. Likewise, a divorce is for situations where the couple has been married for a long time with mutual property and children that need to be sorted out. This is not always the case.

There are very few situations where an annulment is appropriate.  An annulment means that the marriage never existed in the eyes of the law. Under Utah State Law, if at the time of marriage the union was illegal, then it is void. In Utah, these types of unions include same-sex marriages and bigamy or polygamy. This also includes individuals whose divorce decree was not final when the subsequent marriage occurred. Other void marriages are when one individual was under 18 and married without parental consent. Furthermore, if one individual was under 16 when married (unless prior to May 1999, then under 14). Finally, if two closely related individuals married–typically first cousins or closer.

There are a few common law instances when an annulment would be appropriate. These are misrepresentation, fraud, or refusal to consummate the marriage. These are situations where a person would not likely enter into the marriage, if they knew the truth. The fraud or misrepresentation must be made prior to the marriage and be an essential part of marriage. For example, the inability to have children or that you are pregnant with someone else’s child.

For all other situations, in order to dissolve a marriage a divorce is required. Depending on the state, there may be an option to obtain a legal separation. The separation may be temporary or permanent. While separated, the couple is still legally married. A separation typically divides up the marital assets and can set spousal and child support, if needed.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.


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