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"An annulment, like a divorce, is a way to have a marriage legally dissolved. However, unlike a divorce, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never occurred in the first place. Annulments are not as commonly granted as there are only limited grounds for seeking an annulment."
Annulments can be religious or civil in nature. The terms and procedure for a religious annulment will depend on the individuals and their religion. However, a legally valid annulment can only be granted through the Arizona court system. It is not generally used as a substitute for divorce and is only granted when the marriage meets the limited criteria for an annulment.
Arizona annulments are regulated by statute. Under A.R.S. § 25-301, “the Superior Courts may dissolve a marriage, and may adjudge a marriage to be null and void when the cause alleged constitutes an impediment rendering the marriage void.”
This essentially means that in order to have a marriage dissolved through an annulment, the marriage would have to be voidable at the time it was entered into. This is a very limited set of circumstances where a marriage is voidable because it is not recognized under state law. This includes:
“Marriage between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the one-half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews and between first cousins, is prohibited and void.”
However, first cousins may marry if at least one is over the age of sixty-five, or upon proof that one of the cousins is unable to reproduce.
The residency requirements and the process of going through an annulment in Arizona are similar to that of a divorce. In order to file for an annulment in Arizona, one of the individuals has to have been a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days.
If the court does grant an annulment, then property and children will be handled in a manner similar to that under a divorce. The court may divide property, and establish rights and obligations of the parties with respect to any common or adopted children according to A.R.S. § 25-320.
At West, Longenbaugh and Zickerman, our lawyers are here to help individuals and their families throughout Tucson safeguard their assets. We will advise you of all your annulment options, and provide you with everything you need to have your marriage legally annulled. Our team of attorneys are committed to addressing the individual needs of each of our clients and can assist you with all aspects of seeking an annulment.