Annulments and Divorces in Arizona: What’s the Difference?

Do you think that your marriage is over? If so, you will need to consider the separation and divorce option Arizona provides. You may have heard about an annulment and you’re probably wondering about how it differs from a divorce. There are important differences between annulments and divorces in Arizona, making each one apply in a specific situation.

What are the Main Differences?

A marriage is a legal contract. As such, it will have to be ended in a lawful way. Depending on the situation, this lawful way could be either a divorce or an annulment.

Divorce refers to the legal dissolution of a marriage. The two spouses revert to their single status, assets are divided between them and child custody is also determined in court.

Annulments are also legal options for terminating a marriage. There’s one big difference between annulments and divorces in Arizona, however. If an annulment is granted by the court, that would indicate that a legal marriage has never occurred.

Through an annulment decision, the court rules out that a legal relationship of marriage could not be established between two people. There are specific circumstances that make annulments possible in Arizona.

Circumstances under Which Annulments are Possible

The ground for requesting an annulment instead of a divorce include all of the following:

  • Bigamy
  • A blood relationship between the two individuals that have entered into a marriage
  • One or both parties lack the mental capacity to enter into a marriage
  • One or both parties were intoxicated, thus lacking the mental capacity to consent, at the time when they entered a marriage
  • A minor who enters a marriage did not obtain consent from a parent or a guardian
  • One or both parties perpetrated a fraud to get the other one to marry them
  • There’s no official marriage license
  • Force was used to get one of the parties to consent to a marriage
  • One or both parties concealed prior marital status from the other
  • Misrepresentation of religious beliefs occurred
  • Either of the spouses lacked the intent to enter into a marriage contract

Annulment decisions in Arizona are made by the superior courts. The case will be examined after one of the parties files a petition for an annulment and the other one files a response. Because annulments take a look at highly specific circumstances, other paperwork and evidence will also be required.

The Aftermath of an Annulment

annulments and divorces in arizonaThe aftermath of a divorce is easy to see and understand. When a court declares a marriage null, however, there may be much more serious implications.

For example, the marital presumption of paternity will also be nullified in the case of an annulment. Because the marriage is considered to have never happened, children born during the time that the two people spent together are technically considered to be born to a single parent.

At the same time, Arizona law states that every child is the legitimate child of its natural parents. Thus, the marital presumption of paternity cancellation can’t be expected to have much of an impact on the rights of a father.

The situation may change whenever a father decides to dispute the presumption. Clear and convincing evidence that the former husband is not the father will have to be provided in such situations.

In addition, the court responsible for the annulment hearing will decide about parentage, custody and child support on the basis of the best interest of the children.

Most states don’t divide assets and debts after an annulment because the marriage is considered to have never occurred. The situation is different in Arizona. Whenever an Arizona court annuls a marriage between two people, it will have to do asset division.

Some people believe wrongfully that the annulment process is faster and more convenient than a divorce. This isn’t the case. Whenever someone files for an annulment, they’ll have to provide enough evidence. In addition, if there was a valid marriage, an annulment simply cannot take place.

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