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ANNULMENT V. DIVORCE: WHICH OPTION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Annulment is one of many legal concepts that is often time widely misunderstood. Religion and social media have played a substantial role in presenting the meaning and qualifications of an annulment as it pertains to the law.

Annulments and Divorces are similar in that they both result in making a final determination of ones marital status. In a divorce proceeding, the end result is a termination of an existing, valid marriage. An annulment differs form a divorce in that is simply declares that what was once though of as a marriage was never really a marriage at all. Essentially, in the eyes of the law, an annulled marriage is one that never existed.

Under A.R.S. § 25-301, one may qualify for an annulled marriage when their stated cause alleged constitutes an impediment rendering the marriage void. There are a number of factors in which a marriage can be found void:

  • One of the parties was married to someone else at the time of the marriage;
  • The parties are related by blood;
  • One of the parties to the marriage was a minor at the time fo the marriage and did not receive parental consent;
  • One or both of the parties lacked the mental capacity to enter into the marriage;
  • One or more of the parties was severely under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs;
  • The marriage was a result of fraud or duress.

In most states, because the effect of an annulled marriage is viewing it as if it never existed, courts do not have the authority to award spousal maintenance (alimony) or divide properties and/or debts. The theory behind this is that if no valid marriage ever occurred, then there could be no valid marital assets. However, Arizona differs to that of other states in that is has a more generous statute. Under Arizona law, the courts must divide the property of the spouses when issuing an annulment.

If your think annulment is a good option for you, then you are strongly encouraged to reach out to a experience family law attorney. With over 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson can help guide the entire annulment process. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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