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When is annulment an acceptable alternative to divorce?

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A Nevada couple may wonder what conditions allow for annulment instead of divorce to terminate a marriage. State law allows for marriages prohibited by law to be declared void and terminated via annulment rather than divorce. A divorce is typically applicable when a marriage is considered to be valid. An illegal marriage, however, may be annulled.

Causes for annulment include issues such as the lack of parental consent. An individual who is at least 16 but under the age of 18 at the time of marriage must obtain consent from a parent or guardian. The marriage may be annulled no later than one year after that individual reaches 18 years of age. However, annulment may not occur if the individual cohabits freely with the other party as a spouse after reaching the age of 18. A marriage involving a party who demonstrated a want of understanding at the time may be voided through annulment. Consent to marry obtained by fraudulent means may result in the union being voided by means of annulment as well.

No annulment or decree of divorce is needed if a marriage occurs while one of the parties is already married to a person who is still alive. If a marriage has occurred in Nevada and meets the criteria for annulment, any of the designated grounds may be used to seek such action in the state. However, a residency requirement of six weeks applies to a plaintiff seeking an annulment for a marriage performed out of state.

An individual seeking an annulment may want to work with an attorney to discuss the grounds and implications. If the marriage is considered to be legal, divorce may be the more appropriate method for dissolving the marriage. An attorney might also discuss the possibility of pleading a cause for annulment in a divorce action if it is a viable approach to ending a marriage.

Source: Nevada State Legislative , "DIVORCE", November 17, 2014

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