Eligibility for Filing an Annulment in Nevada
If you were married in Nevada, you are eligible to obtain an annulment in Nevada without being a resident of the state. If you were married outside Nevada, but reside in the state, you are also eligible to file in Nevada. If you were married in Nevada, and live in Nevada, you are, of course, eligible to file here.
In addition to this, you must also have grounds for an annulment under Nevada Statutes.
While effort has been made to ensure the requirements are clear, the complex legal rules involved can still complicate the process, so it’s always best to reach out to an attorney with experience in filing Nevada annulments.
The attorney will advise you on the position of Nevada family laws in relation to your particular situation, and the options you have for obtaining an annulment. An attorney would also strategize the best way to file your case depending on your personal circumstances.
Filing an annulment is a good option for those who wish to end their marriage in a way other than divorce. Annulments in Nevada are most often filed as ab initio, meaning it voids the marriage from the time it was performed. So, from a legal standpoint, the marriage never occurred.
What is an annulment?
Annulment is a legal procedure that brings a marriage to an end. In this way, it is similar to a divorce, except that as stated above, in Nevada, most annulments are filed ab initio, which dissolves the marriage from the time it was entered into, so essentially it’s like no marriage took place, whereas a divorce acknowledges a legal relationship between the parties for the duration of the marriage.
The word annulment itself means to officially declare a thing invalid, to “reduce a thing to nothing.” Therefore, when a couple obtains an annulment, the law essentially wipes out the existence of their marriage. They are treated as if they were never married in the first place.
For instance, if a woman changed her name legally as a result of the marriage, after an annulment has been granted by the court, she will be required to legally change it back to her previous name since, from a legal standpoint, the marriage never took place. Therefore, she has lost the right to have changed her name to her spouse’s last name.
Annulment was created as an alternative marriage dissolution procedure for spouses who believed their marriage was invalid. So, rather than require a couple to go through a divorce process for a marriage that was faulty from the start, and to then change their social status to “divorced,” the law allows them to pursue a similar permanent alternative, but one where they retain their status of “single.”
Due to the reasons for creating annulment as a marriage dissolution procedure, there are special eligibility requirements that must be satisfied. Unlike a divorce, which has lesser requirements besides residing the state even if married in it, there are stricter requirements for anyone who wishes to obtain annulment in Nevada. First, you must meet certain requirements to be eligible to file.
You Must Have Valid Grounds to Be Eligible
To obtain an annulment of a marriage in Nevada, the parties must have valid grounds under Nevada law. These are referred to as grounds for annulment, and at least one of valid reason (grounds) must be present in your case to justify an annulment.
Generally, there are two major grounds on which a marriage can be annulled in Nevada. These are that:
- The marriage was not lawful from the start, making the marriage “void”; or
- The marriage lacks one or more legal requirements, which means it can be declared void. This makes the marriage “voidable.”
The first ground involves conditions that nullify a marriage from the start. When these grounds exist, it means the law cannot treat the union of the spouses as a valid marriage in law. It would have been invalid right from the start. The grounds falling under this condition include:
- Spouses are related by blood (siblings, parents, and first or second cousins); or
- Either of the spouses was married to someone else at the time of the marriage. This amounts to an offense called “bigamy.”
Though a marriage might be considered void from the start, one must file an annulment to establish that fact. Without filing an annulment, it appears to the world at large as if the parties are still married, even if the marriage is legally void.
The second major ground involves conditions that affect the legality of a marriage, but do not render it void immediately. In these situations, the marriage may become void upon a complaint by either spouse. The conditions include:
- Either spouse was under 18 years and failed to obtain parental consent to marry at the time of the wedding;
- There was a “want of understanding” between the couple at the time of marriage. This means either spouse failed to consent to the marriage due to insanity, mental disability, intoxication, or any similar mental state;
- Either spouse was fraudulently induced to enter into the marriage, or consented due to a misrepresentation of facts.
- Any other reasons such as duress, undue influence, or mutual mistake of the law.
If any one of the above apply to you, you may be eligible to file an annulment in Nevada. However, you must also meet the following requirements.
Additional Eligibility Requirements
Before any person can qualify to file an annulment in Nevada, they must either:
- Be married in the state;
- Be resident in the state, if married elsewhere. To meet residency requirements, either spouse must have lived in Nevada for at least 6 weeks before the date they intend to file; or
- If a member of the military, have Nevada as your state of record, and LES is also Nevada.
In addition, the filing must occur within a reasonable amount of time after the date of marriage. While there is no specific time limit for filing an annulment in Nevada, judges take the length of the marriage into consideration when deciding whether to grant an annulment. A judge might be less likely to grant the annulment if a lot of time has passed, and there isn’t sufficient reason for having waited to file.
After meeting the above requirements, there are further conditions that need to be met before you can file successfully:
- Your petition or complaint for annulment must clearly state why you are requesting an annulment. This reason must include at least one of the grounds mentioned above.
- The grounds highlighted in your petition as your reason for seeking annulment must be backed by evidence. For instance, if you believe your consent to the marriage was obtained by fraud, there must be evidence to that effect. This may be in the form of an affidavit by someone with special knowledge of the matter, phone recordings, or any other evidence.
- The grounds cannot make you appear to have broken the law. For instance, if your complaint, or joint petition, states you were not in your right mind due to being intoxicated, and you were under the age of 21, this may affect your case. But you should speak to a Nevada family law attorney to learn how the law may specifically affect your case.
- If the marriage produced children, you will be required to include a child support and custody plan in your annulment filing.
If you meet all of these requirements, you might be in a good position to begin the process of filing an annulment in Nevada. To ensure you have the best, and most recent, advice relating to your case, you should contact an experienced family law attorney, one who specializes in annulments as these require finesse not necessary for a divorce, where the grounds are typically incompatibility.