What is an Annulment?
An annulment is a legal procedure that cancels a marriage. Basically, in the eyes of the law, an annulled marriage never really happened.
Annulment vs. Divorce
An annulment is similar to a divorce in the sense that they make a determination about marital status. But the vital difference between them is that divorce terminates an existing, valid marriage, whereas annulment declares that a valid marriage never existed.
Since annulments have significant financial and custody implications, it is important to consult with an experienced annulment lawyer. We at Destiny Law have successfully handled all sorts of marital cases, including annulments. Our skilled lawyers can help guide you through the annulment process and ensure your rights are protected. Contact us today to discuss your case!
Grounds for Annulment in Arkansas
There are very specific grounds for annulment in Arkansas; mere regret alone is generally insufficient grounds for an annulment. The possible reasons a court might grant an annulment are as followed:
- One or both parties were too young to consent to the marriage. In Arkansas, the minimum legal age to get married without parental consent is 18 years old, and 17 years old with parental consent.
- One or both parties were mentally unable to understand and consent to the marriage. This can mean a party has an inability to comprehend intellectually, or that a party was too intoxicated at the time to understand and consent to the marriage.
- One or both parties were incapable of marrying due to physical causes. An example of this would be a male’s impotence preventing the couple from consummating the marriage.
- Consent to marry was obtained through force or fraud. This means that one of the parties was subjected to coercion, and if not for the force or fraud, would not have consented to the marriage.
- The marriage is incestuous. ACA § 9-11-106 includes unions between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between half and whole blood siblings, between uncles and nieces, between aunts and nephews, and between first cousins.
Annulment Process in Arkansas
The best protection for any individual with a high level of income or wealth is to plan in advance through premarital financial planning and a detailed prenuptial agreement guarding particular assets and setting clear expectations as to what happens to assets acquired before marriage and during the marriage. If you and your spouse had a prenuptial agreement, we will be ready to assert your contractual rights as written.
Assets not protected by a prenuptial agreement can be subject to division if the court deems them marital property. If this is the case, we are prepared to fight to protect your rights and assets in divorce proceedings.
What Are Grounds for Divorce in Arkansas?
Generally, the length of time married is not a determining factor to request an annulment. A marriage in Arkansas can be declared null and void and annulled by a court order through the following process:
- Filing an annulment action – A complaint for annulment must be submitted in the circuit court of the county where the plaintiff (person seeking the annulment) resides and has lived for at least 60 days. Additional forms to establish temporary orders for child support, spousal support, or other issues may be required.
- Serving the forms to the other party – You can mail the forms via certified restricted mail with delivery return receipt requested yourself, or you can have an outside party hand over the forms, such as the Sheriff or a private process server. Sheriffs and Process Servers have their own individuals fees for the services.
- Testifying in court – Both parties will be summoned to appear in court, where the court will hear testimony, consider written submissions and the law, and issue an order. Even if the Defendant (the party opposing the annulment) fails to respond to the complaint or appear at the court hearings, the Plaintiff must appear and present sufficient evidence to support the annulment request. This will require the Plaintiff to testify. Having a lawyer is especially important at this step. Destiny Law Firm’s annulment attorneys can effectively represent you and help you be completely prepared for the hearing.
- Division of property – In the eyes of the law, there cannot be a marital estate if there was no valid marriage, thus, couples undergoing an annulment in Arkansas must divide their own property, including both assets and debts. Our skilled annulment lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of important matters including division of property, child custody, child support, etc.
- Annulment finalization – After the annulment in Arkansas is finalized by the court, neither party can receive permanent alimony or survivorship benefits from the other.
Some people are concerned that if their marriage is annulled, their children’s paternity will be brought into question. This is technically correct. Since an annulled marriage has no legal standing, the children born as a result of the “marriage” are born to single parents. However, Arkansas law requires the court that rules on annulment to also rule on custody and support, although the annulled marriage was never valid.
Contact Our Little Rock Annulment Lawyers
At Destiny Law, no case is too difficult. Our annulment lawyers offer one-hour consultations for a set fee to evaluate your case with you. We will explain to you how annulment law works and provide you with an overview of your rights. After this consultation, the required retainer and costs can then be estimated. Contact us today!