When you’ve found yourself in the unfortunate circumstances of being party to a marriage that you’re unhappy in for one reason or another, you may wonder what legal options you have for bringing an end to your marriage. For some, annulment may be a more viable and beneficial option over divorce. However, for others, their unique situation may not be one that the Arizona courts recognize as grounds for annulling a marriage.
In either case, the family law attorneys at Dorris Law Group in Tucson are here to answer any questions you have about the legal requirements and financial repercussions of annulment and/or divorce. In our prior article, we briefly reviewed details on legal separation in Arizona. Today we will continue on that topic by reviewing three commonly asked questions about annulments. Read on to learn more, then contact Dorris Law Group today for a no-cost consultation!
What is Annulment?
When contacting a family law attorney about this issue, the first thing many clients seek to understand is what exactly annulment is. Some may have heard the term on television, or had a family member or close friend go through the annulment process. Unfortunately, annulment is an often-misunderstood legal process when compared to divorce, and many cannot put a finger on what the distinction is between the two. In simple legal terms, an annulment essentially invalidates what relevant parties deemed to be a legal marriage. In essence, once it is annulled, the marriage is treated as if it never occurred in the first place. Conversely, with marriages ending in divorce, the validity of the marriage is not contested.
Who Can File for Annulment?
When they are uncertain about the validity of their marriage, many clients may also wonder who is legally able to file for an annulment. The simple answer is that either party within the marriage may petition for the annulment. Much like divorce, it is not uncommon that one partner in the union wishes for dissolution of the relationship when the other does not, but this does not preclude the petitioner from filing an annulment action. Arizona courts grant a fair amount of mutual petitions for annulment, provided that there is a legitimate reason for the annulment. Most often, both spouses are on the same page with the annulment, but in cases where one spouse objects to the annulment, the matter will be brought before the courts to determine if there is a valid and legitimate reason for the annulment.
Why File for Annulment and Not Divorce?
Many clients also wonder why annulment is considered more advantageous than divorce in certain circumstances. One of the biggest benefits annulment has over divorce is that, when the marriage is determined to have never existed, there are no grounds for alimony or spousal support. Often times, there is also no division of property to be dealt with because most judges generally rule that all property should be returned to whoever owned it prior to the marriage. Also in cases of annulments, mutually incurred debts are frequently split 50/50, making an annulment a very attractive option when available. Additionally, for some clients, the religious ramifications of divorce can be considered very detrimental to their faith and ability to remarry in the future.
If you have questions about the annulment process, or if you’re not sure whether annulment is the most beneficial for your situation, we highly suggest contacting a reputable family law attorney, like those at Dorris Law Group, as soon as possible. Contact us today at 520-622-4866 to schedule a no-obligation consultation. We look forward to assisting you!