When a new marriage gets off on the wrong foot, the majority of couples consider divorce. Annulment may be an easier, more cost effective option for couples that meet certain legal requirements.
Annulments work like a divorce, separating property and establishing custody of the children born from the marriage. The difference between divorce and annulment is that you become legally single again after annulment, and with divorce you become legally divorced.
To get a legal annulment of a marriage, there are certain criteria that must be met at the time of filing. At the time of the marriage if one of the parties was under the age of 18 without parental consent, or if one of the parties was forced into the marriage, a court may grant the annulment of a marriage.
Courts may also annul a marriage because of impotence or non-consummation of the marriage, a close blood relationship between the married parties, fraud, or because one of the parties was already legally married when the marriage took place. Many states have a time limit on annulment procedures, and you might want to consult an attorney to find out the time limitations. You must also meet residency requirements of the state in which you want to have the annulment performed.
To file an annulment, you will want to go to an attorney and have the proper paperwork drawn up to file with the county clerk's office. A lawyer will be able to inform you of your rights and whether you meet your state's criteria for obtaining an annulment.
There will be a legal fee for the attorney to draw up the paperwork, and a filing fee for filing the paperwork that will begin the annulment process. Once the paperwork has been filed, you will receive a case number and will need to ensure that the other party in the marriage is served with the paperwork.
The lawyer may be able to help you by obtaining the services of a process server, or you may be able to find someone to serve the other party yourself. The person that serves the paperwork must be 18 years old, and must fill out paperwork stating when and where serving the paperwork occurred. This paperwork also needs to be turned in to the county clerk's office.