OVERVIEW OF ANNULMENT
Like a divorce, an annulment is a court procedure that dissolves, or ends, a marriage. An annulment is different from a divorce in that an annulment treats the marriage like it never happened. Some people still think divorce carries a stigma, so they would rather have their marriage annulled than get a divorce.
Contrary to popular belief, annulments are not regularly granted in Nevada. This is because there are only a few limited reasons that a judge can grant an annulment. Read on for more information about the reasons an annulment may be granted.
Anyone who asks the court for an annulment must prove to the judge that one of the following grounds for an annulment exist:
The Spouses Are Closely Related
Those who are close blood relatives are not allowed to marry. In Nevada, parties cannot be related any closer than second cousins or cousins of the half-blood to marry. If the spouses are related beyond that level, the marriage is considered "void," meaning, it was invalid from the start.
One Person Was Already Married
If one of the spouses was already married at the time the parties attempted to marry, the parties were not free to legally marry. This kind of marriage is considered "void," meaning, it was invalid from the start.
Lack of Parental Consent
Usually, a person must be 18 years old or older to get married. Those under 18 can get married if they get the proper consents. Anyone under the age of 16 must have at least one parent's consent and a judge's consent to marry, and anyone between 16-18 must have at least one parent's consent to marry.
If a minor got married without these required consents, the marriage can be annulled. However, there are two limitations to this. First, the marriage cannot be annulled once the person reaches the age of 18 if the person is willingly living with the spouse as a married couple. Second, an annulment case based on these grounds must be filed within one year of the person turning 18.
Want of Understanding
If one of the spouses did not understand what they were doing at the time of the marriage to the point they were incapable of agreeing to the marriage, the marriage may be annulled for "want of understanding." Anyone using this as a reason for an annulment must prove this to the judge by "clear and satisfactory" evidence.
A marriage can also be annulled if one of the spouses was insane at the time of the marriage but has now regained sanity. However, if the parties continue to willingly live together as a married couple after sanity was restored, the marriage cannot be annulled.
If either of the spouses committed a fraud on the other to get them to agree to the marriage, the marriage may be annulled. A fraud generally means that one person intentionally lied about something they knew was important to the other person in order to convince the person to marry. The lie must be so serious that if the other person knew the truth, the other person would never have gone through with the marriage. Anyone using this as a reason for annulment must prove the fraud to the judge by "clear and convincing" evidence.