Annulments in Arizona
Arizona Law: Overview of Annulments
A divorce dissolves a valid marriage, in contrast, Arizona courts grant annulments when they find that fraud or circumstances surrounding the marriage made it impossible for the parties to enter into a legally binding marriage contract, or an obstacle exists that prevents the marriage from being valid. In this case, in the eyes of the law, an annulled marriage never occured.
Arizona Family court requires a higher burden of proof for an annulment, than a normal, no-fault, divorce. Usually couples seeking an annulment have been married only a brief time.
Why do parties seek annulments?
The most common reason for annulment is a conflict with their religion. The Catholic Church believes the sanctity of marriage is lifelong until “death do us part”. Churches have their own requirements for religious annulments, and these may vary. Religious annulments void marriages so that one or both of the parties can remarry and have the subsequent marriage recognized by the church. Church annulments in Arizona are not legally recognized.
In some instances, spouses may ask for an annulment for financial reasons. Since the court recognizes that the marriage was never valid, courts strive to put each spouse in a financial position that mirrors how each individual entered the marriage. Nevertheless, there may be issues pertaining to debt, child care, and other monetary costs. However, long financial battles are less likely when a marriage is annulled.
What conditions and grounds are necessary to for an annulment in Arizona?
The grounds and conditions that support an annulment focus on the ability of a spouse to freely consent to the union.Duress or incapacity to consent at the time of the union can be grounds for annulments. Conditions that can create the inability to consent include:
• One or both parties is under 18 and did not obtain parental consent to marry
• Intoxication when getting married
• Mental illness when getting married , nullifying legal consent
• Temporary insanity when getting married
• Getting married under duress
A judge will also grant annulments when there are certain defects or obstacles that make the marriage invalid. In Arizona, void marriages include incestuous marriages of close bloodlines. However, first cousins can marry with court approval if they are over 65.
Annulments can also be granted for fraud or misrepresentation, such as:
• Failure to disclose incarceration or crime involvement
• Concealed communicable illness
• Unable or unwilling to consummate the union
• Immigration status
Defects in the actual marriage ceremony, such as the absence of a valid marriage license, are also grounds for an annulment. Clergy, a judge, or another authorized individual must conduct a valid marriage ceremony.
If you believe the conditions or circumstances of your marriage may provide grounds for an annulment, seek help from an experienced Enholm Law attorney who knows the proceedings and law for obtaining annulments in Arizona. Contact Enholm Law at 602-889-6273 to learn more about annulments in Arizona.