In specific instances, a couple hoping to separate might be granted an annulment. Though the process of obtaining an annulment, as well as the legal, financial and personal responsibilities each spouse might be required to resolve in its wake are similar to that of a divorce, there are certain notable differences between the two legal concepts. This brief article will examine the process of annulment in Utah.
The Definition of Annulment
When a marriage is annulled, a court of law determines the union is invalid. Should annulment be granted, said relationship is terminated and expunged from legal record.
Obtaining an Annulment
Only a court of law can annual a marriage. Said event will take place only if the union in question met one of very specific grounds established by state law. In Utah, courts are permitted to grant annulment if the parties were genetically related such as siblings or first cousins, one party was either under 14 or 16 years of age, one of the spouses was under 18 and did not receive parental consent for the marriage to occur, both parties were of the same sex or one of the parties was already married and not officially divorced from their first spouse. The court might also consider granting an annulment in the instance of fraud, misrepresentation or if either party refuses to consummate the union.
If any of the said criteria are met, the spouse in question can initiate the annulment process. The court requires applicants to fill out the appropriate forms listing the ground(s). Once the necessary paperwork is completed, the court will schedule a hearing in which both the applicant and accused party can plead their case using evidence and witness testimony (if applicable). The court will then weigh the facts and render a decision.
Being granted an annulment does not mean specific legal, financial and personal matters are immune from resolution. The court might still require spouses of an annulled union settle several important issues including asset allocation, alimony and, for those who have minor children, child custody and support.
- Asset Allocation: Utah is an equitable distribution state. This means that a court will split the former couple’s marital assets as evenly and fairly as the judicial body deems appropriate. Marital assets are the property the spouses accumulated during their time together. Holdings said individuals had prior to their union are not typically considered amongst marital property.
It is important to note, however, that equitable distribution does not necessarily means an even 50/50 split. The court will consider the most equitable percentage distribution after considering factors such as each spouse’s age and health, income earning capacity, how much each spouse contributed to the accumulation of marital assets or if either party exhibited any form of malfeasance.
Like divorcing spouses, those granted annulments are permitted to devise their own asset allocation plan. That said, said financial blueprint must still be reviewed and accepted by a court of law.
- Alimony: On specific occasions, one spouse will be required to pay alimony of support payments to said individual’s former partner. Parting spouses might have a significant income inequity that could leave the individual earning less with serious financial hardship when the annulment becomes official.
To avoid such circumstances, a court might mandate that the spouse with greater income remit support payments to the other. Spouses might be able to agree how much alimony one might pay to the other. If said parties cannot reach agreement, a court will render said determination after weighing several considerations such as each party’s financial stability, the receiving spouse’s earning capacity, as well as both parties age and health.
Child Custody/Support: Should the spouses in an annulled marriage have minor children, custody and financial support of said issue must also be resolved. In Utah, custody is defined as legal (those who render important legal and health decisions for the child/children in question) and physical (the spouse with whom the child/children reside with following the annulment).
Parting spouses could be granted either joint or sole physical and legal custody. Usually, after hearing the testimony of both parents and considering numerous factors, a court will render custody and financial support decisions based upon the child’s best interests. Splitting partners can author a parenting plan disclosing with whom the child/children will live, when said issue will visit the other spouse and other key subjects. That said, said document must be reviewed and approved by a court of law.
For more information, please visit https://www.knklawfirm.com/. If you reside in the Ogden area, our firm can answer any questions you may have and might be able to provide necessary counsel should you face these circumstances.