A marriage annulment is a legal proceeding that cancels a marriage. If granted, an annulment means the marriage was never legally valid. In other words, it never actually happened. Under certain conditions, an annulment can be an alternative to divorce. Our Las Vegas divorce attorneys know that marriage annulments in Nevada require the following conditions:
- There are no children or expected children and no issues regarding property, and;
- You were married in the State of Nevada, or;
- Either you, or your spouse, have been full time residents of Nevada for at least 6 weeks.
You Must Have Grounds
Nevada considers divorce a “no fault” legal proceeding. However, marriage annulments require “grounds” or valid legal reasons. Here are a few of the grounds for annulment:
- Fraud – Marriage consent was provided under false pretenses. This includes misrepresentations of shared religious beliefs, immigration status, living arrangements, desire to have children, etc.
- Inability to Consent – If either party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage.
- Lack of Understanding – If your marriage took place before discussing and agreeing on important issues. These include living arrangements, religious beliefs, financial responsibilities, child issues, etc.
Contested, Uncontested, or by Publication
There are three types of Marriage Annulments: Contested, Uncontested, and by Publication. Each type has its own set of procedures that you must follow. Not every type is available in every situation. For example, if you know where your spouse is, you cannot do a service by publication. You should consult a Las Vegas annulment lawyer to learn which option is best for you.
Contested Marriage Annulments
A contested annulment is when you and your spouse can’t agree on how to dissolve your marriage. It may take a few months or up to a year to reach resolution. The length of your case depends on the number and complexity of the unresolved issues. Contested marriage annulments start by filing a Summons and Complaint. A process server will then serve your spouse with the annulment documents. There can be numerous court hearings before resolution. In extreme cases, a family court judge decides the outcome via trial. All contested annulment cases require the expertise of an experienced Las Vegas divorce attorney.
Uncontested Marriage Annulments
Uncontested matters are where both parties agree to the annulment. These proceedings are faster and less costly than contested matters. Both spouses must understand the value of a settlement vs. litigation. They must agree to the grounds and settlement terms. You and your spouse must also sign all annulment documents. If your spouse refuses to sign then you need help from a Las Vegas annulment lawyer.
By Publication Matters
You may be eligible for a marriage annulment even if you do not know your spouse’s current location. In this instance a Service by Publication annulment is available to you. You are first required to make an earnest effort to serve the Annulment documents to your spouse. You must use their last known address, even if it’s out-of-state or out of the country. The judge in your case is likely to order Service by Publication if your good faith efforts fail. The publication must be available for five continuous weeks. You may petition for a default judgment if the publication does not generate a response from your spouse. This is what happens most often.
Contact a Las Vegas Divorce Lawyer
Please contact us at 702-222-4021 if you’d like to speak with our Las Vegas divorce lawyers about a marriage annulment or the divorce process. We provide phone consultations with an experienced Las Vegas annulment lawyer as a courtesy at no charge.