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An annulment is a very serious step taken to dissolve a marriage. Completing this step means that you are declaring the union invalid or void altogether. In most states, it’s very difficult to qualify for an annulment. Here is how you handle an annulment.
Legal grounds for annulment
There are limited grounds for annulment. If your spouse was married to another person at the time the marriage took place, you may have grounds for an annulment. If your spouse wasn’t of sound mind, you may also be able to perform an annulment. If the ceremony was performed under fraudulent circumstances, you may be able to annul the marriage. Here are additional scenarios in which a marriage can be successfully annulled:
• The marriage took place at a time when one person was underaged
• The couple was found to be related by blood
• One party was impotent or physically incapable of having sexual relations
• One spouse was already legally married before officially entering into the subsequent marriage
• The very premise for getting married was tied to a desire for one to remain legally in the country
• One spouse forced the other person to marry
Consequences for filing an annulment
In some states, alimony and child support may be an issue if an annulment is granted. This is because the state views the marriage as never having existed. This complicates the process of challenging matters regarding assets or child support. If you are filing for an annulment, it’s best to weigh the potential financial repercussions for taking this approach.
Where does the annulment petition get filed?
There are two locations where an annulment can be submitted. It can be requested in either county where one of two parties resides. The local district court is responsible for handling that petition. You need to consider the residency requirements if you’ve resided in a state for a limited amount of time. For example, if you have lived in an area for six months or less, you need to consider the states residency requirements. They can be anywhere between several weeks and six months.
What happens after the petition has been filed?
The other party has to be formally served with the complaint. The clerk of the circuit court will facilitate the process. Your attorney could also assist you with completing this process. If the whereabouts of the other party is unknown, you should work with an attorney to file the petition since this complicates the process.
Residency requirements and annulments
Generally, you should file your annulment action in the county where you live. Some states have residency requirements ranging from a few weeks to 6 months or more. If you moved recently, you’ll need to check your current state’s requirements and make sure you are a resident. If you file an annulment action before you meet state residency requirements, a judge can throw it out.
The petition process is a complex process. It’s difficult to qualify for an annulment. If you have matters involving property or alimony, you will need to address that in the submitted petition. Consulting an attorney is the best course of action if you have marital assets, child support or residency stipulations that may affect the outcome of your case.