How Do Courts Divide Property in an Annulment?

Generally, married couples share their property. Any money they make or items they purchase while they are married is considered a “marital asset.”

Because they are joint owners of marital property, spouses must divide this property in a divorce. Depending on your state, this process can go one of two ways. You may live in an “equal” property division state, where you will owe your spouse half the value of anything you keep. In an “equitable” property division state, it is much easier to keep property outright.

An annulment is very different from a divorce. It invalidates the marriage rather than simply ending it. Essentially, annulment claims that the marriage never should have happened in the first place. This usually means that there was something illegal about the union. One spouse may have already been legally married; one person may have been underage at the time of the marriage; the marriage could be based on fraud; and so on.

An annulment wipes the marriage from your record, therefore, there is no marital property to divide.

When it comes to dividing property in an annulment, courts will treat each situation individually. There are no hard-and-fast standards. Here are some ways that courts can split property in an annulment.

Treating All Property Individually

When someone seeks an annulment, they are not looking for compensation. They are erasing the invalid marriage from their record, so there are no expectations of spousal support, property division, and so on.

Since an annulment assumes that the marriage never existed, the court can simply give property to the purchaser of any asset. It can use receipts, the names on leases, and so on.

Handling Jointly Owned Property

Under certain conditions, even long marriages can be annulled. The spouses may have accumulated joint property if they were together long enough.

If an annulled marriage contains jointly owned property, the court can treat it the same way it would for a dissolving business. People can buy one another out for assets, or the assets could be sold off and split among the former spouses.

Using Property as Compensation

Annulments often involve fraud or lies. When one spouse was deceived in the marriage, the family court can act more like a civil court. It may have the power to give the injured party some of the deceiver’s property, compensating them for their woes.

Secure the Services of a Good Attorney

You need a strong argument to successfully annul your marriage. Remember, you are legally wiping the marriage from existence. Doing so requires more than just deciding that you no longer want to be married.

When it comes to property, you cannot simply argue for entitlement like you would in a divorce. You need hard evidence and paperwork to prove that something rightfully belongs to you. This is especially true if you were the victim of fraud or deceit. A good attorney can help you collect this evidence and prove your case.

Our firm can help you with an annulment. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us today at (801) 901-7046.