One alternative to a divorce may be filing for an annulment. Annulments are difficult to obtain in Nevada and should be considered very carefully, as an alternative to divorce. It is strongly recommended that someone considering an annulment in lieu of a divorce consult an attorney.
Generally, the word annulment means a revocation or the state of being canceled. An annulled marriage is a marriage that never existed in the eyes of the law. In some cases, an annulled marriage may be preferred over a divorce. One of the biggest reasons people prefer annulment over divorce is cost. It is almost always cheaper to annul a marriage than it is to divorce. People also chose annulment for religious reasons and for other financial considerations.
In Nevada, there are two categories of marriages that may be annulled. Void marriages are one category where the annulment is always granted. Void marriages include marriages where the parties are related by blood (closer than second cousins) or marriages where either of the parties has a current spouse that is living. If there is a void marriage, no decree of annulment or other legal proceeding is required; however, people with void marriages often want a piece of paper declaring the marriage void and thus, an annulment proceeding in this circumstance is appropriate.
“An annulled marriage is a marriage that never existed in the eyes of the law.”
The other category of marriage that may be annulled in Nevada is a voidable marriage. A “voidable” marriage is valid until it is annulled. Voidable marriages include: (1) Lack of consent of parent or guardian for a minor less than 18 years old; (2) want of understanding; (3) fraud; or (4) grounds for declaring a contract void in equity.
Want of understanding can be made on grounds of extreme intoxication, insanity or mental disability. Fraud may include such matters as the intent by one party to live separately even after marriage or the desire by one party to refrain from sexual relations. These two categories are generally the basis for annulment attempts in Las Vegas. An annulment is usually denied if after the intoxication, fraud or insanity, the parties continue to live together as husband and wife.
The time it takes to complete a Nevada annulment depends on whether it the annulment is filed as a one signature annulment or a two signature annulment. Other factors that may affect the time it takes to complete an annulment include whether one party is arguing against the annulment, the type of service of process required and the speed with which the Judge who has the annulment can complete the paperwork. In general, an annulment may take 1-3 weeks if it is a two signature annulment or about 10-12 weeks if it is a one signature annulment.
As stated above, annulments in Nevada that are based upon voidable marriages are often difficult to obtain. A Nevada resident looking for an annulment of a voidable marriage is encouraged to plead divorce in the alternative. In either case, obtaining an annulment in Nevada should be guided by the advice of a qualified attorney.