While a divorce signals the end of a legally valid marriage, some couples can get their marriage annulled. An annulment not only ends your marriage but also treats the union as if it never happened. To qualify for an annulment, your marriage must meet certain requirements.
What Are the Conditions for an Annulment?
To get your marriage annulled, you must have legal grounds to seek an annulment. If you do not have grounds for an annulment, you will have to file a divorce. In Utah, the legal grounds for an annulment are (Utah Code 30-1-17.1):
- Incest, in cases where spouses are first-cousins or even more closely related
- Underage marriage, in which a spouse is under the legal marrying age (18) and did not have parental or legal consent to marry
- Bigamy, instances where a spouse is already married (and the marriage was not legally ended)
- Misrepresentation or fraud, in cases where one spouse hid or lied about facts that affect the union and harm the other spouse
- Impotence, when a spouse cannot or refuses to have sexual intercourse
No matter what grounds you file under, you will be expected to provide proof to substantiate your claims. Your partner can fight the grounds with their own evidence as well.
Annulments filed on the grounds of fraud or misrepresentation can be difficult to obtain. In cases of fraud, the fraud must be proven to be so severe that the other spouse wouldn’t have gotten married if they knew about the fraudulent claims.
With misrepresentation, a spouse must have been misled about present facts. For example, previously, a Utah woman was able to obtain an annulment after her husband concealed a previous felony conviction from her. She was led to believe that he was paying child support when he was really paying restitution (Haacke v. Glenn, 814 P.2d 1157, 1157, 1159 (Utah Ct. App. 1991)).
How Long Do You Have to Annul a Marriage in Utah?
The length of your marriage has no bearing on your eligibility for an annulment. There is also no time limit or frame in terms of when you need to file.
How to Get an Annulment
To start the annulment process, you will need to file a Complaint for Annulment; you should file at the district court in the county where you or your partner have lived for 90 days (or longer). When filing this document, you will need to know specific information, including but not limited to:
- You and your partner’s full names
- Which of you lives in the county
- The grounds on which you are filing
- Issues you want the court to address during the proceedings (i.e., child support and/or custody, the division of property, alimony)
To ensure that you correctly file, you should speak with an experienced attorney. After completing the Complaint for Annulment form, your spouse should be served/notified. A court date will also be scheduled.
Our Family Law Attorney Can Help with Your Annulment
If you are ending your marriage and filing for an annulment (or thinking about it), you should contact a divorce or family law lawyer. A reliable attorney will be able to help you file the necessary paperwork. They will also have a firm grasp of state laws, which will enable them to best advise you based on your case specifics.At Nelson, Taylor & Associates, our attorneys are devoted advocates for our clients. We offer individualized, honest legal counsel, and we’re not afraid to think outside of the box to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome. To schedule your free case consultation, give us a call at (801) 901-7046 or reach out online.