A Guide to Getting a Marriage Annulment in Arizona

annulment in arizonaDo you know what the difference between an annulment and a divorce is? Both are used to end a marriage but these two legal concepts are not the same. Most people get a divorce but an annulment is possible in specific circumstances.

When Can You Request an Annulment in Arizona?

In the case of an annulment, an Arizona court will recognize the fact that a marriage is legally void. A simple example of a void marriage in Arizona involves a person who is already married and attempting to do it a second time (bigamy).

There are several grounds for getting an annulment in the state, the most common ones being:

  • The parties are blood relatives
  • One of the parties is a minor who didn’t obtain parental consent to get married
  • At least one party lacks the mental/physical capacity to get married
  • At least one of the parties was under the influence while getting married
  • A marriage license was not issued
  • A proxy was used instead of marrying each other in person
  • Force or duress was used by one of the parties to get the other one to consent to the marriage
  • There has been no intercourse between the two parties
  • There has been misrepresentation of religion by at least one of the parties

As you can see, the circumstances in which an annulment applies are pretty specific and defined by law. To get an annulment, one has to petition the Arizona superior trial courts. Depending on the circumstances, a judge of the superior court will declare the marriage null and void.

The Difference between Civil and Religious Annulments

The conditions mentioned above apply to a civil annulment that is granted in court. A religious marriage annulment is a different thing.

A religious annulment can only be granted by a church tribunal (in the case of a Catholic marriage). Once the marriage is declared void by the religious tribunal, the two parties will be free to pursue relationships and marriage with someone else.

A religious annulment does not have an effect on your legal status while a civil annulment does.

Click here for information on annulments and divorce in Arizona.

The Effect of an Annulment on Assets and Children

The marriage annulment treats assets much like a divorce does.

Assets that have been acquired separately before the marriage will be the individual property of the respective spouse that’s the owner. Assets acquired during the course of the marriage are counted as community assets and divided between the two parties.

Anyone who believes that a 50-50 division of community assets is not fair can petition the court and request a different arrangement.

There is a common misconception that an annulment can occur only in the case of short-term marriages. Some of the conditions mentioned above, however, could potentially invalidate a marriage that has lasted longer. In this instance, there will be community property issues to address. The couple may also have children by the time they decide to get an annulment.

If a marriage is annulled, children will not be considered as born out of wedlock. The paternity will still be presumed. Thus, the manner in which child custody arrangements are made will be quite similar to how the court will address the issue in the case of a divorce.

The custody decision will be based on the child’s best interest. Depending on income and the parent who will be spending most of the time with the kids, child support decisions will also be made.

There is, however, one big difference to keep in mind in such circumstances. Due to the fact an annulment is not the same as a divorce, spousal maintenance support (alimony) will not be paid.