Posted on : June 28, 2017, By: Christopher Hildebrand
Annulment vs. Divorce in Arizona
Many people ask about the difference between an annulment vs. divorce in Arizona. A divorce is the dissolution of the marital status between two legally married spouses. In a divorce case, the Arizona court will enter a judgment rendering each party a single person, will divide the parties’ debts and assets, will issue child custody and support orders and, in some cases, may award alimony.
An annulment in Arizona, however, nullifies the marriage as if the marriage had never taken place. Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-101 prohibits some marriages in Arizona. Specifically, that statute provides that a marriage between the following people are void and prohibited under Arizona law:
Marriages between parents and their children
Marriages between grandparents and their grandchildren
Marriages between brothers and sisters
Marriages between uncles and nieces
Marriages between aunts and nephews
Marriages between first cousins, except if one of the cousins is over the age of 65 one of the cousins is unable to bear children and a Judge from the Superior Court approves the marriage before the marriage occurs
Annulment vs Divorce in Arizona.
There are also reasons that, although not rendering the marriage legally void, may allow the court discretion to make the marriage voidable for purposes of entering an annulment of the marriage. The Arizona Court of Appeals has upheld a trial judge’s decision to declare an otherwise legal marriage voidable and, hence, grant an annulment declaring the marriage void.
Some such examples occurred in the case of Medlin v. Medlin. The Arizona Court of Appeals in Medlin held that a marriage is similar to a contract requiring both parties to have the mental capacity to understand the contract before entering into the contract such that a spouse who was incapable of understanding the nature of the quasi-contractual agreement to marry may have the marriage annulled.
The Arizona Supreme Court in the case of Jackson v. Industrial Commission held that false representations of love and affection coupled with a fraudulent intent to deprive the other spouse of his or her property provided sufficient basis to annul the marriage in Arizona.
In yet another Arizona Court of Appeals decision in the case of State Compensation Fund vs. Foughty and Industrial Commission. The court of appeals held that a person with deeply held religious convictions who marries a person she believed to share the same religious beliefs could have her marriage annulled because there was an absence of a meeting of the minds regarding their religious views and practices.
The Arizona Supreme Court has gone as far to hold in the case of Southern Pacific C). vs. Industrial Commission that an annulment of a void or voidable marriage is permissible even if the same facts would provide a basis for a dissolution of the marriage.
The trial court still has the power to divide the parties assets and debts and to issue child custody and child support orders if the marriage if the court annuls the marriage, according to Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-302.
How Much Does it Cost to Get an Annulment in Arizona
The cost of getting an annulment in Arizona are not significantly different than getting a divorce in Arizona. The reason is that in both an annulment and a divorce the court has to divide the parties’ debts, assets, issues orders concerning the care of the children, and determine the subject of child support. Another difference is that the court can award alimony (i.e., “spousal maintenance”) to a spouse in a divorce, but may not award alimony to a spouse if the court annuls the marriage.
The only exception to the idea that the costs of an annulment and a divorce are very similar surrounds the additional time it will take your attorney to prove that a basis exists for an annulment. A divorce can be entered by a judge simply by one spouse testifying the marriage is irretrievably broken. To establish the foundation for an annulment, the party seeking the annulment must prove the marriage was void, to begin with, or is voidable due to, for example, fraudulent inducement to enter into the marriage.
Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
Kevin Park of Hildebrand Law was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get an Annulment
There is no specific time limit to be married to obtain an annulment in Arizona. However, you do have to act promptly once you become aware of the basis for the annulment. Failure to seek an annulment after having had knowledge of the basis of the annulment could result in the court finding you ratified the otherwise voidable marriage by staying in the marriage. Void marriages, on the other hand, which are prohibited by law are voidable at any time.
If you need an attorney to pursue a divorce or an annulment, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Call us at (480)947-4339.
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