Getting an Annulment in Utah

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An annulment is a legal procedure that declares a marriage null and void. Annulment is differs from divorce in that it will usually act retroactively and, for legal purposes, make it like the marriage never happened; divorce, from a legal standpoint, is treated more like the termination of a contract. Annulments and divorces may end with similar legal results: both formerly married parties will be listed as single for tax purposes, and if any children are born out of the marriage the court may make decisions on child custody and child support.

The difference between annulment and divorce is largely semantic, but the requirements and processes involved in filing for one or the other will be different. Generally a married couple eligible for annulment will also be eligible for a divorce, but not the other way around. The court grants annulments only under relatively unusual circumstances including underage marriage, marriage between close relations, and bigamy.

In the state of Utah, persons under the age of sixteen cannot be legally married and persons between the ages of 16 and 18 can be married only with parental consent. Therefore any marriage where one or both of the parties is under the age of 16 has grounds for annulment, regardless of the parties’ consent or that of their parents. Length of the marriage, contrary to common belief, is not part of the consideration for annulment, not under the Utah statute, at least. The courts may also grant annulments on grounds recognized under common law like fraud or refusal to consummate the marriage.

The legal differences between divorce and annulment exist are largely semantic, but they exist for religious and cultural reasons. Adherents of Catholicism, among those of other religions, may prefer to seek an annulment rather than a divorce either to avoid the stigma associated with divorce or because of strong religious feeling. These are also common reasons as to why one would seek a separation over a divorce.

We at Larsen law firm are proud to serve the greater Provo area in the fields of family and personal injury law. We hope that this article has been informative, but it is no substitute for in-person legal advice so don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation today, if you have would like to know more about your options when it comes to divorce, separation and annulment.

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