How do I Get an Annulment in Indiana?

By Wayne Thomas

Divorces effectively sever the legal relationship between a couple, thus Indiana courts have the authority to fairly divide a couple's property, taking into account each spouse's present economic circumstances as well as contributions made during the marriage. However, the state also recognizes annulments, which are used to erase a marriage and restore each party to a position as if the legal relationship never existed. Instead of dividing the couple's property, the court will determine ownership based on which spouse acquired the asset.

Establishing Residency

To file for an annulment in Indiana, either you or your spouse must be currently living in the state. If residency is due to active military, the residency period is six months. An annulment action may be filed in the county where either spouse lives, but if the resident spouse is active military, he or she must have lived in the county for the previous three months.

Void Marriage

You may obtain an annulment in Indiana if your marriage is illegal under state law. This is known as a "void" marriage and would apply if one spouse was under the age of 18 when married, one spouse was already married at the time of marriage, or the spouses are more closely related than second cousins. If you were married in Indiana, state law provides that annulments on these grounds do not require a lengthy trial. You would be required to provide the appropriate supporting documentation, such as a birth or marriage certificate, to the court clerk when you file you paperwork requesting the annulment.

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Voidable Marriage

Indiana also recognizes annulments based on a voidable marriage. In contrast to void marriages, a voidable marriage means that the relationship is considered valid, but may be rescinded at the option of one party. If one spouse was mentally incompetent at the time of marriage, or the marriage was a product of fraud, it is considered voidable. However, a spouse alleging fraud must have left the home as soon as the fraud is discovered. Voidable grounds can be highly fact-sensitive, and require a legal proceeding.

File for Annulment

Requesting an annulment follows the same procedure as requesting a divorce under Indiana law. You must file a written petition for the dissolution, indicating the reason for the annulment and including the appropriate residency information. Once filed, you must provide your spouse with copies of the document and allow him a chance to respond in writing. The matter will then proceed to a hearing in front of a judge. Unlike divorce, the Indiana courts do not offer fill-in-the-blank forms to be used in annulment proceedings. For that reason, many couples seek the assistance of an attorney or legal document provider.

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Missouri Annulment Information

An annulment in Missouri is known as a "declaration of invalidity of marriage." Despite Missouri's unique description, the grounds for annulment in the state are similar to those found in others, ranging from bigamy and incest to fraud and concealment. If annulment is granted, the marriage is treated as if it never happened. But annulments don't come easy; the party seeking it must prove the required circumstances exist -- speculation is not enough.

How to Get an Annulment in Arizona

An annulment is the legal recognition by an Arizona court that a marriage is void. In Arizona, an annulment is granted if the marriage was void from the beginning or, according to the Arizona Revised Statues, an impediment existed that caused the marriage to be void. For example, if you were already married at the time of your marriage or underage, these would be considered grounds for annulment in Arizona. To receive an annulment in Arizona, you follow the same procedure as filing for divorce.

Annulment Fraud & California Law

Not all marriages are valid in California. If one spouse uses fraud to induce the other to marry, an annulment may be granted by the court. Annulments have the effect of restoring the parties to a position as if the marriage never occurred. However, due to the availability of divorces, annulments are applicable only in limited circumstances and require more proof than is typically needed to dissolve a marriage.

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