Annulment Law in Utah
ANNULMENT VERSUS DIVORCE?
Summary of Terms and Issues
a. Bigamy- One of the parties was already married to another person: If the bride or groom was already married to someone else at the time the marriage ceremony was performed, the nuptials are invalid and the marriage is void. This includes a situation where a divorce was filed but never finalized. To be final, a divorce decree must be signed by the Court. (TIP: if you are engaged to be married to someone who was previously married, you both ought to make sure the prior marriage was legally dissolved. The best way to do that is to personally review a court certified copy of the Decree of Divorce.)
b. Underage: If one of the parties was under the age of 18 and did not obtain parental consent the marriage is void. A minor under the age of 16 cannot be legally married even with parental consent. (TIP: a Court has discretion to deny an annulment even if one of the parties was underage if the Court finds the annulment is not in the best interest of the underage spouse or the minor children if the couple have offspring.)
c. Incest: If the bride and groom met at a family reunion the marriage may be void! Blood relatives that are first cousins or closer may not be legally married.
d. Failure to Consummate: If the bride or groom is unable or refuses to engage in sexual relations, the Court may enter a finding to annul the marriage.
e. Fraud: A marriage may be annulled if one party engaged in a purposeful deception which the other spouse relied upon when agreeing to get married. (TIP: it is no simple task to prove fraud in court. If fraud can be proven, it must directly affect the marriage and be severe enough that the deceived spouse would not have agreed to the marriage had he or she known of the deception.)
f. Misrepresentation: Annulments can be granted if one spouse lies about a material fact that causes current harm to the other spouse. For example, in one Utah case, the husband concealed a criminal record which required him to pay fines and victim restitution but he informed his wife the outgoing money was for a nonexistent child support obligation. The annulment was granted on those facts.
2. WHAT IF THE PARTIES HAVE CHILDREN – An annulment can be granted even if the parties had children so long as one of the legal grounds above applies. Any children born during the annulled marriage are deemed legitimate and have the same rights as children from a legally valid marriage. In these cases, even though the marriage is deemed to have never existed the Court will still be able to decide custody and child support issues for the benefit of the minor children. In fact, if alimony or property division is at issue, the Court can address those disputes as well if it equitable to do so.
3. HOW DO I FILE FOR AN ANNULMENT – If ground for an annulment exists, you can file a Petition for Annulment in a county where you or your spouse has resided for at least 90 consecutive days. You must cite one of the legal grounds for annulment listed above. You should also request any other relief you might require such as child support, alimony, division of debts and property division.
Do you have questions about Divorce or Annullment?
Do you need assistance or advice in an annulment or divorce case?
Call attorney Troy R. Jensen – 801-612-2112 – JENSEN LEGAL
KNOW THE LAW, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, KNOW I WILL FIGHT FOR YOU!
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