Filing for an annulment in Idaho

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Often we get calls from prospective clients telling us that they have recently entered into a bad marriage and want to file for an annulment of the new marriage.

The reason some people want an annulment is that the marriage is declared legally invalid and the result is as if the marriage never happened.   Thinking that if the marriage never happened, then there may not be complicated division of property.  No issues of figuring out which property is community, and which property is separate.  All the property is separate.  He takes what was his before the marriage, and she takes what was hers.

On the other hand, it may not simplify property division at all, and may in fact complicate things.  Many people do not go from living separate and apart, to being married.  Many people live together for some time; invest money into the same pieces of personal property.  Given that community property law does not apply in an annulment it may be more difficult for each spouse to get his or her fair share of property that was accumulated while living together.

Most people don’t actually seek annulments for any practical reason.  More times than not they are seeking an annulment for personal reasons.  Maybe because they want to drive home the point that the marriage was a mistake, and should never have happened.  Or maybe because of religious reasons.  Or just for the simple reason of being able to say that they have never been married and divorced.  If these are the reasons you are seeking an annulment, you may want to think again.

Annulments are not always available and filing for an annulment is not necessarily less expensive than filing for a divorce since you must demonstrate to the court that the marriage is invalid for one of the reasons listed below.   Consequently, annulments are not always the quick and easy solution for rush decisions to marry and can get quite complicated and expensive.

Filing for an annulment is very different from filing for a divorce.  Annulments require showing of a defect with the marriage making the marriage invalid from the outset.  To file for an annulment in Idaho one must show more than having acted rashly and having made a bad decision.

One cannot simply allege “irreconcilable differences” as in a divorce case.  The party filing for an annulment must meet very specific elements.

Generally, an annulment may be available if one of the parties was already married to someone else at the time of their marriage, or if there was a problem with one party’s ability to consent to the marriage due to:

  1. The party was under the legal age of consent and without consent of a parent or legal guardian at the time of the marriage.
  2. The party was of unsound mind at the time of the marriage.
  3. The consent to marry was obtained by fraud or force.
  4. The party was physically incapable of entering into marriage (unable to consummate the marriage) and the condition appears incurable.

There are additional specific limitations with respect to the timing of the filing depending on the grounds alleged.  Also, some of the grounds listed above can become unavailable if the party filing for annulment had freely continued to cohabit after finding out about the defect.

 


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