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How to Get An Annulment in Arizona

Posted On February 8, 2021 In Annulment

Annulment is an often misunderstood legal concept.  A civil annulment is wholly separate from a religious annulment.  The church grants a religious annulment, and religious annulments have no bearing on civil legal status.

Civil annulments and divorces are similar in that there is a petition filed with the family court asking for a status determination to be made about a marriage.  However, a divorce ends a marriage, and an annulment declares a marriage void as if it never legally existed.

An annulment dissolves a marriage that was not legally valid from the very beginning, returning a person’s marital status to single.  That person goes on to live their life as if they were never legally married at all.

Grounds for Annulment in Arizona

Annulments are rare in Arizona.  Most couples file for divorce because they do not meet any of the grounds necessary for an annulment.  

Grounds for an annulment include:

  • One party was already married to someone else (bigamy);
  • The marriage was incestuous;
  • One of the parties was a minor at the time of the marriage, and did not obtain the consent of a parent or guardian to marry;
  • One or both of the parties lacked the mental capacity to marry;
  • One or both of the parties lacked the physical capacity to marry;
  • One or both of the parties were intoxicated, drugged, or under the influence of a substance at the time of marriage;
  • One or both of the parties lacked the intent to enter into the marriage contract;
  • The parties failed to obtain a proper, official marriage license;
  • The parties used a proxy instead of marrying each other in person;
  • One of the parties perpetrated fraud to get the other party to consent to the marriage;
  • One of the parties used force (duress) to get the other party to agree to marriage;
  • The parties have not consummated the marriage;
  • One of the parties was impotent and did not tell the other before marriage;
  • One of the parties misrepresented his or her religion;
  • One of the parties concealed his or her prior marital status; and 
  • One of the parties secretly planned to evade a premarital agreement.

Annulment is not a means to a fast divorce.  When there is a valid marriage, there cannot be an annulment.  Instead, a couple must file for a divorce.

A marriage, no matter how short, does not qualify for annulment because of its length.  A valid marriage is valid regardless of its length and requires a divorce to dissolve it.  Only marriages without legal standing are voidable. 

Annulments have serious effects on finances and child custody matters.  Therefore, it is vital to speak with an experienced family law attorney before proceeding with any legal issues concerning an annulment. 

If you are unsure whether your marriage qualifies for a civil annulment, call the experienced Chandler divorce attorneys at Wilson-Goodman, PLLC.  Our skilled attorneys can evaluate your marriage circumstances and advise you if you meet one or more of the grounds for annulment in Arizona.

Discover the difference compassion and knowledge can make during your divorce or annulment by contacting Wilson-Goodman, PLLC, today.  We want to help you through this difficult time and give you the practical advice and legal strategies needed to make you successful in the future.