What Are the Grounds for Annulment in Arizona?
If an individual believes that his or her marriage was not valid, he or she may consider pursuing an annulment rather than a divorce. An annulment is different from a divorce because, if granted, the law treats the marriage like it never occurred rather than simply ending it like a divorce would. In some instances, a marriage may be void, meaning it is legally prohibited and should not be recognized by the state (for example, a marriage between immediate relatives). In other situations, the marriage is voidable, in which one of the parties has the right to an annulment. A court order must be provided for a voidable marriage to come to an end. The grounds for annulment in Arizona include:
To be a legally valid marriage, both parties must voluntarily consent to it. If a fiancée threatened to physically harm you if you did not go through with the marriage, you can seek to annul the marriage on these grounds.
Lack of Mental Capacity
Agreeing to marriage is the legal equivalent of entering into a legal contract. Therefore, if you did not have the mental capacity to make this decision, you may seek to annul it on these grounds. If you suffered from insanity, mental illness, brain damage or another medical condition and therefore could not provide legal consent, you did not have sufficient mental capacity at the time you entered into the marriage.
Likewise, if you were temporarily insane but have since recovered, you can challenge the marriage. However, if you entered into the marriage during a lucid interval, the marriage should not be annulled on these grounds.
Likewise, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage, you may not have mentally understood what you were doing. The marriage is voidable by you under these circumstances.
Lack of Parental Consent
Adults are freely able to enter into a marriage contract at their own will so long as they have the necessary capacity. Minors may get married, too. However, if the minor is under 18, he or she must get parental consent. If the minor is under 16, a Superior Court judge must also provide consent. The marriage is voidable if the minor acquired the marriage license without the necessary consent.
If your spouse is permanently impotent when the marriage took place and you did not know this until after the marriage, you can annul it based on these grounds.
If your fiancée tricked you into the marriage or intentionally misrepresented facts to coerce you into marriage, you can try to annul the marriage on these grounds.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
If you believe that one of the situations above describes the factors that led to your marriage, you may wish to discuss the case with an experienced Arizona family law attorney. Contact Udall Shumway to set up a confidential consultation to review the circumstances of your case.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Grounds for Annulment, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.