Can I Get an Annulment?
We receive quite a few calls asking about annulments.
Annulments are a way to say a marriage never really happened.
Of course, that’s a fiction since people were really married and an annulment really gets people unmarried, but we indulge lots of fictions in law.
In any case, annulments are actually hard to get.
Essentially, you can only get an annulment in Utah if (1) your marriage wasn’t legally recognized in the first place (e.g., incestuous marriage, underage marriage, bigamist marriage); or (2) your spouse lied about fundamentally important information before the marriage, and you would never have married if you had known.
An example of (2) would be something like this: your husband did not tell you he never intended to have sex with you once you were married. Another example would be this: your wife lied to you about being a believing Mormon, and you would have never married her if you had known.
In other words, your spouse has to commit fraud and lie about a fact so fundamental to the marriage relationship that no reasonable person would have gotten married if he or she had been in your shoes.
Add on top of this that most judges won’t grant an annulment unless both spouses agree to it, and you have a recipe for not very many annulments.
That said, annulments do happen, and, in our experience, they happen most often in the following circumstances:
- Non-consummation (i.e., no sex after marriage).
- Lying about religious devotion.
- Never living together as husband and wife (i.e., one spouse leaves immediately after consummating the marriage and never comes back).
Keep in mind, if you can’t get an annulment, you can always get a divorce. In fact, most people decide to divorce instead of taking their chances on an annulment because judges don’t grant them very often.
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