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Getting an annulment often feels like a much more mysterious process than getting a divorce. While divorces are often talked about and it seems like there is plenty of support for going through the process, there’s relatively little information shared about annulment. One of the most basic issues concerning annulments is the location at which the filing should occur. Most people wonder if they should file for the annulment where they live now, or if they should go back to where they were married. This question is a bit more complex than one might think, as it does involve more than just the preference of the individual filing for the annulment.
Getting the Annulment Locally
Generally speaking, one should get an annulment in the place where he or she lives. The vast majority of annulments that are granted are granted in the county of residence of one of the two parties to the marriage, and doing so usually has the advantage of being more convenient for the petitioner. After all, choosing to file in your own county means less time traveling and generally makes it easier to communicate with your attorney and gather any documents that might be relevant to the process.
With that said, it is not always possible to get an annulment in the place where you live. Many states have residency requirements for annulments just as they have residency requirements for divorces. As such, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve lived in the state long enough to qualify as a resident under the law. Remember, though, that this time counts for both parties so you might be able to get past the residency requirement if your former spouse has lived in the state long for the requisite period of time. If you neither of you has been in the state for long enough, though, you may have to look at another option.
Where You Were Married
If you have not lived in your current state long enough to satisfy the legal requirements for annulment, you may have to go back to the state in which you were married. This only holds true, though, if you were a resident of that state in the first place – those who had destination marriages within the United States are unlikely to be able to go back to this third-party state to get an annulment, as they would not meet the residency requirements of that state either.
When individuals have to go back to the state in which they were married to get an annulment, they typically do so because that is the state in which they meet the residency requirement. In some cases, this is because the residency requirement is shortened when you get married in that state, or because specific statutes allow for certain waiting periods to be waived if the marriage license was signed within the state. This can be incredibly complex, especially for those who have moved around a significant number of times in only a short period.
Matters can greatly be simplified if you take a look at the places of residence of both parties. If either party to the marriage meets the residency requirement in the new state, the annulment petition can be filed there. While filing in the place of the longest residence is not always the most strategically beneficial move for some, it can cut down on travel expenses and help to expedite the process of annulment by keeping everything close to home. Making this kind of choice does not, however, necessarily require the permission of the other party, though filing for annulment without mutual agreement can be more difficult.
If you are looking to file an annulment, it’s important to know where to go. Your best choice is usually to file in your county of residence, but you’re only able to do this if you meet the residency requirement. If you are unsure of where you should file or whether you meet specific residency requirements, you should meet with a qualified attorney. He or she will not only help you to figure out where you can file for your annulment, but he or she can provide you with the guidance you need to determine whether filing for an annulment is in your best interest and what steps to take next.