McFarling Law Group represents parties in annulment cases. Whether you are in agreement seeking an annulment, filing a contested annulment or defending against an annulment, McFarling Law Group can help.
Las Vegas, Nevada is the Mecca of marriages, but, unfortunately, many of them are done in haste or under the influence of intoxicating substances, and prove to be regretted afterwards. This makes Las Vegas, NV a leader in annulments.
What is a marriage annulment? This dissolution of marriage process differs from divorce in that it addresses defects in a marital relationship occurring at the time of the formation of that relationship. Thus, if a marriage is illegally formed, when it is annulled, the parties regain their legal rights and responsibilities as they existed before the marriage occurred. By contrast, a divorce deals with problems in a marital relationship arising after the marriage is formed. Traditionally, after a divorce, the parties have continuing legal status as ex-spouses involving division of property, child custody and alimony.
Jurisdiction in Nevada
Nevada has jurisdiction to grant an annulment to anyone who was married in Nevada as well as when one or both parties is a Nevada resident. This differs from the jurisdiction for a divorce as you cannot obtain a divorce in Nevada simply because you were married in Nevada.
The Legal Standard
There are a few specific situations where a person can obtain an annulment in Nevada. Those specific situations are defined by the following statutes:
NRS 125.330 Cause for annulment: Want of understanding. 1. When either of the parties to a marriage for want of understanding shall be incapable of assenting thereto, the marriage shall be void from the time its nullity shall be declared by a court of competent authority. 2. The marriage of any insane person shall not be adjudged void, after his restoration to reason, if it shall appear that the parties freely cohabited together as husband and wife after such insane person was restored to a sound mind.
NRS 125.340 Cause for annulment: Fraud. 1. If the consent of either party was obtained by fraud and fraud has been proved, the marriage shall be void from the time its nullity shall be declared by a court of competent authority. 2. No marriage may be annulled for fraud if the parties to the marriage voluntarily cohabit as husband and wife having received knowledge of such fraud.
NRS 125.350 Cause for annulment: Grounds for declaring contract void in equity. A marriage may be annulled for any cause which is a ground for annulling or declaring void a contract in a court of equity.
The gist of these statutes is that Nevada generally allows marriage annulment under two circumstances (three if you count void in equity, which is a much more lengthy discussion): Fraud and Want of Understanding: Want of Understanding is the legal mechanism that allows marriages that were done under the influence of alcohol (or other substances) to be annulled. This same legal mechanism would allow for dissolution of marriage by annulment if a person were temporarily insane and later regained sanity.
Annulment by Fraud requires that consent to the marriage had to have been obtained by fraud. This means that the fraud has to be related to a basis that consent to the marriage was given. For instance, if the parties contemplated a family, and this was a basis for consent to marriage, and after the marriage one of the parties stated they never wanted a family, this could qualify.
Is changing one’s mind fraud? Obviously, no; this is why annulments by fraud can be difficult to prove.
In both cases, a marriage annulment cannot be obtained if the parties continue to live together after the fraud has been uncovered or the person has been restored to sane mind.
How the Court Process Works
A complaint for annulment is filed by one party and served on the other party. The answering party has 20 days to answer the complaint. Thereafter, the court will set a case management conference to determine the pending issues and set the case for a trial. Starting 30 days after the complaint is served, both parties may begin the discovery process of obtaining information and preparing for trial. At the conclusion of the case, the court will either grant or deny the request for annulment. An annulment can be combined with a divorce case, giving the judge two options for final orders, or may its own case. If a the court denies the annulment and a divorce has been requested by either party, the court will grant the divorce.
Reaching an Agreement
In most cases, the Courts in Clark County will grant an annulment if both parties agree that one of the necessary elements occurred. If you need help negotiating an agreement or have reached an agreement and simply need to make sure the paperwork is done properly, McFarling Law Group can help.
Experienced Attorneys at Your Side
At McFarling Law Group, our lawyers are experienced in all family law matters, including annulments. If you would like to schedule a consultation with an experienced family lawyer in Las Vegas, NV area, call our office at 702.565.4335.