We are often asked about the legality of annulment in Utah.
Marriage annulment is legally possible in our state, but only if your marriage qualifies under certain conditions. Unfortunately, most couples are not able to meet the legal requirements to have their marriages annulled, and will instead need to consider a divorce.
How Does Annulment Differ from Divorce?
Annulment and divorce are both legal procedures for dissolving a marriage. Both procedures, once complete, return each party to single status with the ability to remarry.
The main difference between the two is that divorce simply ends the marriage, while annulment is a legal declaration that the marriage never existed. With an annulment, the marriage is erased, as if the two parties never married in the first place.
What Are the Grounds for an Annulment in Utah?
Many couples seek to have their marriages annulled for religious or financial reasons. Others prefer to avoid the social stigma associated with divorce. But in fact, annulment is not a viable option for most couples.
The circumstances in which the courts will approve an annulment are extremely limited.
A marriage can be annulled if one spouse is under the legal age and does not have a parent’s consent, or if one spouse has a previous marriage that wasn’t legally ended prior to remarriage.
Incestuous marriages between close relatives can also be annulled.
Misrepresentation, fraud or refusal to consummate the union also may be recognized by the court as valid legal causes to annul a marriage, although the burden of proof is onerous. Unlike some states, the length of the marriage is not grounds for annulment in Utah.
How Do You Obtain an Annulment in Utah?
The process for an annulment is similar to that for a divorce.
You begin by filing a petition with the court, stating the legal grounds under which you believe your marriage is qualified to be annulled. This petition must contain all of the issues that the courts will address, including alimony, property division, and child custody and support.
Because it can be difficult to obtain an annulment, we often advise our clients to also petition the court to grant a divorce, in the event that the judge doesn’t believe you have adequately proven your case for annulment. This can save you the time and expense of a separate divorce action if you are unable to have your marriage annulled in Utah.
In Northern Utah, Burton Law Firm specializes in all matters relevant to family law. We are conveniently located in Ogden, right across the street from Weber State University. Contact us today to learn more about the legal process of getting a divorce or annulment in Utah.
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