When most marriages occur, it is with the intention that they will last until the death of one of the spouses. But in some cases, it becomes apparent very early on that the marriage never should have happened. In these cases there are two potential options; divorce and annulment.
Why Many Prefer Annulment to Divorce
Divorce can be messy and expensive, and carries with it stigma that many in Utah would rather avoid. In some cases, a person’s religious beliefs forbids them for remarrying after a divorce, or marrying someone else who was in this situation, regardless of the circumstances. Some simply feel that marriage is something you do once, and unlike a divorce, and annulment legally erases the experience of being married as if it never happened.
Requirements for a Utah Annulment
In order to receive an annulment in Utah, some very specific requirements need to be met, and these requirements are much more strict than they are for those seeking a divorce. Officially, these are the things the court considers before granting a Utah annulment and are outlined in Utah Code Section 30-1-17.1;
- The marriage is between close relatives, such as siblings
- The marriage is between persons of the same gender
- At least of the persons in the marriage is too young to marry. Before May 3, 1999, this age was 14. afterwards, it was 16
- Parental consent was not obtained for a person under 18
- One of the persons in the marriage was still married to someone else, including instances where a divorce was pending.
While some may assume that a very short marriage is a candidate for annulment rather than divorce, this is not the case. But the court does occasionally grant an annulment for reasons not mentioned in the official code, such as fraud, misrepresentation, or if a marriage is not consummated. These reasons, however, are not as clear cut, and the length of the marriage is not factored in when the court decides whether or not to grant an annulment in Utah.
Other Factors to Consider
In the Utah court system, granting an annulment as opposed to a divorce is the exception rather than the rule. In most cases marriage is something to be taken seriously, and not easily undone.
Couples often have a history with one another long before they walk down the aisle. Whether the grounds for an annulment stick or the couple is forced to consider a divorce instead, a lot of the same family law issues come into play, including child custody and support, visitation, paternity, and father’s rights to name a few. If you would like more information on annulment, talk to us at Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law. We offer a free initial 30 minute consultation where we can answer many questions that are applicable to your situation to help you decide how to proceed.