In Utah, and in the United States as a whole, the most common way to end a marriage is through a divorce. However, in some very specific circumstances, it is actually possible to get an annulment instead. While annulments are less common, they may be a better option for your specific situation and may save you some time and money if you meet the qualifications. Here are the details on how to get an annulment in Utah.
What is an annulment and why get one?
So what is an annulment, and how is it different from a divorce? The difference is that, where a divorce is ending a marriage, an annulment declares that your marriage was not valid. So with the annulment definition, in the eyes of the law, you were never officially married in the first place, and thus the marriage never legally existed.
The various benefits of an annulment are that there is typically no waiting period, or it is shorter, meaning you can both move on with your lives much quicker. In most instances, there is also no division of property, and it can release you from the terms of a prenuptial agreement. However, the Court may make orders regarding child support and custody, if applicable, and they may even divide property and debts if necessary. Many people also prefer to move forward without the perceived stigma of being officially “divorced.”
How do you get an annulment in Utah?
Now that you know that an annulment is an option, you might be wondering how you can obtain one for you and your spouse. To know if you qualify for an annulment, it is first necessary to make yourself aware of the various grounds for annulment in Utah.
In the state of Utah, a marriage can be annulled only for one of the following reasons:
- One spouse was married to someone else, or their divorce was not yet final.
- One person was under the legal age for marriage, and (if between the ages of 16–18) the parents did not consent.
- The spouses were related — first cousins or closer.
- One partner lied about or hid something that affects the marriage relationship, or misrepresented the other spouse; that is to say, fraud or misrepresentation, as recognized by the court.
- One spouse refused or was unable to have sexual intercourse.
It is important to note that the length of marriages is not considered grounds for annulment in Utah, and any cases of fraud or misrepresentation may be difficult to prove and are quite rare. Overall, annulments can be difficult to obtain in Utah, and thus in the annulment vs divorce debate, many people simply opt for the latter.
What is the process for getting an annulment in Utah?
To request an annulment, you will file a “Complaint for Annulment” in the district court of your county (where either you or your spouse has lived for at least 90 days). After the complaint has been filed, the court will schedule a hearing, where you will bring any evidence or witnesses to help prove your grounds for annulment. If the judge believes you have proven your case, you will be granted an annulment.
While this process may seem relatively simple, it can still be difficult, and annulments in Utah are rare. It is worth consulting with an attorney first to make sure you have a good case. At Christensen Law, we have handled both divorces and annulments. Feel free to contact us at 801-905-8703 for a free consultation by phone or in-person.