Whereas a divorce ends a marriage, an annulment is a finding that the marriage was not valid and never existed. Grounds for seeking an annulment vary according to state law. Kansas allows its courts to grant annulments on grounds the marriage is void or voidable, or on contractual grounds such as mistake of fact.
If your marriage is void, which means it is prohibited by Kansas law, the Kansas court is required to grant an annulment. For example, a marriage between close relatives is considered incestuous and void under Kansas law. Even if you didn’t know about your familial relationship to your spouse at the time of the marriage, the marriage is still void. Since Kansas only allows marriages between one man and one woman, bigamous marriages and homosexual marriages are also void in Kansas.
Marriages Voidable by Fraud
Similarly, a Kansas court must grant your request for an annulment if your marriage is voidable because it was induced by fraud. This might apply if you entered the marriage because of a misrepresentation your spouse intentionally made, such as lying to you about his age, and you would not have entered the marriage had you known the truth. However, you are not required to ask for an annulment once you discover the fraud.
Other Grounds for Annulment
A Kansas court can consider other grounds to justify an annulment, although it is not required to grant an annulment on any of these grounds should they exist. These grounds are (1) the parties married because they made a "mistake of fact"; (2) the parties did not know a "material fact" that would have caused them not to marry had they known it; or (3) any other reason the court feels is adequate justification for annulment. A mistake of fact or lack of knowledge of a fact means the spouses entered the marriage without knowing the truth about something so important that they would not have married if they had known the truth. For example, if one spouse had a significant mental condition, unknown to the other spouse at the time of the marriage, the court could find that significant enough to justify annulment.
Filing for Annulment
Unlike a Kansas divorce proceeding, Kansas does not require either party to have lived in the state for a certain period of time in order to file for annulment. Your petition for annulment must specifically outline your grounds for annulment and state the names and dates of birth of any children born during the marriage. Once your petition for annulment is filed, there is no mandatory waiting period before the court may grant your annulment. However, your spouse has the opportunity to file a response to your petition, thereby contesting the annulment, which may result in a longer process.