Annulment is a legal proceeding for ending a marriage in Nevada. A specific state law governs the process, which is available only in limited circumstances. When a marriage is annulled, the court order voids the marriage as if it never happened. In contrast, a Nevada divorce terminates a valid marriage.
Las Vegas attorney Joseph Gersten provides a full range of family law services to clients, including representing individuals in annulment proceedings. At The Gersten Law Firm, there is no charge for your initial consultation.
A Nevada statute establishes specific requirements that must be met for a district court to grant an annulment. If an individual files an annulment petition, the law places the burden on the petitioning party for establishing that the marriage qualifies for annulment.
A void marriage is one that was never valid, because the two individuals could not legally marry each other. The statute specifies two situations in which a marriage is void:
The law provides that a person who marries a second time while a prior marriage is valid can be prosecuted for bigamy, even if a court annuls the second marriage.
Since void marriages are invalid by law, it is not necessary to petition the district court to annul the marriage. However, in some circumstances, a person may wish to have a judge declare the marriage as void so there is concrete legal proof that the marriage never existed.
A voidable marriage is one that can be annulled by the court if one of the spouses files a petition and establishes certain facts in the proceeding. The statute addresses four (4) different situations in which a marriage is voidable.
If one of the spouses was under age eighteen (18) at the time of the marriage, Nevada law requires consent of that person’s parent or legal guardian. For a person under age sixteen (16), marriage requires both the consent of a parent or guardian and a judge. If the underage person did not obtain the required consent(s), the marriage is voidable.
However, there are two limitations on getting an annulment based on lack of consent:
If either of the parties was incapable of consenting to the marriage because of “want of understanding,” the marriage is voidable. However, if a person without mental capacity to consent freely resides with the spouse as a married couple after mental capacity is restored, the marriage is no longer voidable.
If a party proves that consent to the marriage was obtained through fraud, the court has authority to annul the marriage. However, if the parties voluntarily live together as a couple after the fraud is known, the court does not have authority to void the marriage.
In this context, fraud means intentional deceit. The fraud must be so serious that the deceived party would not have consented to the marriage in the absence of the fraud. A person seeking annulment because of fraud must demonstrate the existence of the fraud to the court.
A Nevada district court has authority to void a marriage under the equitable principles that apply to voiding a contract in a court of equity. Examples of these rules include undue influence, mistake, or duress.
If the marriage occurred in Nevada, either party can ask for an annulment in the state. Residency is not required. However, if the marriage occurred out-of-state, one of the spouses must reside in Nevada for at least six (6) weeks before the petition is filed.
A person may ask the court for an annulment and divorce in one petition. If the court grants the annulment, the judge takes no action on the divorce request.
When a district court rules on an annulment petition, the judge has authority to determine other matters relating to the marriage, including community property rights and property division, child custody issues, and alimony / spousal support.
Before filing a petition for annulment, there are important considerations to take into account. The process is similar to a Nevada divorce proceeding. Representation by an experienced family law attorney is the only way to protect your rights throughout the process and ensure that legal requirements for obtaining an annulment are met.
If you have questions about the law on annulment in Nevada, Las Vegas family law attorney Joseph Gersten is here to help. Attorney Gersten understands the difficulty and emotional strain of legal matters relating to ending a marriage and relationship. He will evaluate your situation based on his extensive experience, explain Nevada laws and processes, and fully protect your rights and interests.
The Gersten Law Firm assists clients in Las Vegas, Henderson, and elsewhere in Clark County. Your initial consultation is free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.