Specializing Attorneys: Keith M. Backman, Scott P. Nickle, Craig P. Helgesen, Kurt M. Helgesen

Areas of Specialty: AdoptionAlimony, Annulment, Child Custody & VisitationChild SupportDivorceDivorce MediationDivorce ModificationProtective Orders

Is your marriage “Voidable”

Some people believe that if they change their minds shortly after the marriage, they can get an annulment instead of having to go through a divorce. This is not true.

An annulment is granted when a marriage is illegal or invalid. Unlike a divorce, the parties have to prove that there is a reason for an annulment–there is no such thing as an annulment for “irreconcilable differences.” Reasons which could lead to an annulment include:

  • One of the parties is already married. This occasionally arises when there was a problem with a previous divorce, or when someone gets remarried before a previous divorce is final.
  • The marriage is incestuous. This means that the parties to the marriage are too closely related. In Utah, the parties generally must be at least second cousins for the marriage to be legal.
  • The marriage is the result of fraud.
  • The marriage has never been consummated.
  • The marriage was the result of duress. This means that one of the parties was forced into the marriage against his or her will. This will require the party who claims duress to show more than that he or she has changed his or her mind.

If the court grants an annulment, the court declares that the marriage was invalid. It is as if the marriage never happened. The parties go back to being single, rather than being divorced.

If the parties to the marriage can agree that it was illegal, they can stipulate to an annulment. If they cannot agree on that issue, the party which wants the annulment will have to prove the grounds for the annulment. If the grounds will be difficult or embarrassing to prove, the parties may be better served by getting a divorce.

If you have questions about whether you should pursue an annulment or a divorce, contact one of the attorneys listed at the top of the page.