Rather than simply ending a marriage, as a divorce does, an annulment nullifies the marriage, rendering it as if it never existed. Individuals sometimes seek annulments in order to avoid alimony and the division of retirement and other assets accrued during the course of a marriage. Couples may also seek an annulment when the marriage has been of short duration. However, contrary to common belief, the duration of your marriage is not grounds for annulment.
Annulments are rarely awarded and are appropriate only under limited circumstances. They are typically only available when a marriage was illegal from the outset. Under Utah law, marriages may be deemed void or may be invalidated for the following reasons:
- One of the parties was still married to another person at the time of the marriage;
- One party was under 18 years of age and did not obtain parental consent prior to entering into the marriage;
- The parties are closely related; or
- The parties are of the same sex.
Marriages procured by fraud or misrepresentation may also be annulled. However, you must establish that the fraud or misrepresentation went to the heart of the marriage. In other words, if there had been no fraud, you would not have entered into the marriage.