A couple can obtain an annulment in Nevada only for specific reasons. Annulment has the legal effect of voiding the marriage as if it never existed because the marriage was invalid due to a defect. A divorce is different because it results from a marriage into which the couple validly entered.
Who Can Apply for Annulment in Nevada?
Anyone who was married in Nevada can obtain an annulment in Nevada, even if the parties do not currently reside in the state. Parties who married outside of Nevada can apply for annulment in Nevada if at least one of the parties has resided in the state for 6 weeks or more.
What Are the Grounds for Annulment?
The grounds for annulment are limited to the following:
- Lack of Consent of Parent or Guardian: a person under age 18 who failed to obtain consent from his or her parent or guardian can apply for annulment within 1 year of turning 18, unless the person freely cohabits with the other party for any time.
- Want of Understanding: a marriage can be annulled if one of the parties was incapable of agreeing to the marriage. If an insane person becomes sane and freely cohabits with the other party, then he or she cannot obtain an annulment.
- Fraud: if either party obtains the other party’s consent through fraud, then a court may grant an annulment. Fraud typically means that one person intentionally lied about something he or she knew was important in the other party’s decision to marry. An annulment will not be granted if the parties cohabit voluntarily after the innocent party receives knowledge of the fraud.
- Grounds for Declaring Contract Void in Equity: a court may grant an annulment if a party can show that circumstances exist that would make a typical contract invalid; for example, if one or both parties was mistaken about the terms of the marriage, including whether the parties want to have children, whether they will engage in sexual relations, or whether they can agree where to live.
- Close Relations: parties cannot be married if they are related any closer than second cousins or cousins of the half-blood; if the parties are blood relatives, then their marriage is considered void.
- Already Married: when one party gets married and is still married to a different spouse who is living, then the most recent marriage is considered void.
How Can I Apply for Annulment in Nevada?
If both parties want an annulment, then you have two options. First, you can file a “joint petition” along with the other party, which you both sign. Second, one party can file a complaint against the other, and the defendant party can waive service of process and choose not to answer the complaint. If one of the parties doesn’t want an annulment, then the party desiring an annulment must file a complaint against the other and make his or her case that grounds exist for the court to grant the annulment.
If you are concerned that the court won’t grant an annulment, then you might consider requesting annulment as part of a complaint for divorce. This way, if the court doesn’t grant an annulment, then you can proceed in the same case to request a divorce instead.
Can I Get Alimony After an Annulment?
Generally, no. An alimony award is typically reserved for parties to a valid marriage.
Do I Need an Attorney to Get an Annulment?
No, you don’t have to hire an attorney, but it can be helpful because attorneys are familiar with the procedures involved and the best way to present your case.
Contact me today if you need to apply for annulment.
Applicable law: NRS 125.290-440.