At Ascent Law, LLC, we want to provide you with some things you need to know about a Utah Annulment (sometimes called annulment of marriage) is not the same thing as divorce (sometimes called dissolution of marriage, divorce, etc). In a dissolution, the marriage is ended by agreement, but as far as the law is concerned, the parties had a legal marriage, it is just over now. In Annulment, the marriage is voided, erased. Legally, the law has erased the marriage.
Unlike divorce, where the parties must agree on everything and file together, an Annulment can either be agreed OR contested. That means that the parties can either file together, or one person can file for annulment on his or her own.
Just like in divorce, there must be grounds for annulment in order for an Utah court to grant the annulment. The grounds for divorce in Utah are NOT the same as the grounds for Annulment. The most notable difference in the grounds is that in Annulment, the parties cannot simply agree that they are incompatible. There has to be some defect in the marriage that is serious enough that the law will allow the marriage to be erased instead of simply ended.
Even if grounds for annulment exist in your case, it doesn’t automatically mean you can file for annulment. Usually, it has to be the “aggrieved party”, meaning the person who was wronged, who files for the annulment. To learn more about who is the aggrieved party, read over the Utah Code or call our office to talk. In addition, there are time limits for annulment. In many cases, the person who was wronged must file within two years, but there are different time limits for different grounds for annulment.
Attorney for Annulment in Utah
Utah has a separate statute dealing with changing names after an annulment. In annulment cases, the court may, if it wants to, change the name of a person back to what it was before the parties married, even if neither of the parties requests the name change. This differs from the Utah divorce statute about changing the party’s name, which requires the consent of the parties to change a party’s name. This may be especially important in a case where the husband is the aggrieved party and he wants to have the court “take his name back” from the wife.
Utah law allows people to get restraining orders against the other person while an annulment case is pending, in order to prevent the other spouse from harassing or harming themselves or their children. The restraining orders can also prevent people from leaving the state with a child, selling or hiding assets, etc.
Even though the court may ultimately find the marriage to be invalid, the court may (but is not required to) make “temporary orders” of support while the annulment is pending. The court can also make orders regarding temporary custody while the case is pending. Temporary orders might be issued in a contested annulment case, but are almost never ordered in annulments that are filed jointly. This is probably because when the parties jointly file the annulment papers, they want the marriage to be over as soon as possible, and the case will not be open long enough for temporary orders to be needed.
Annulment in Utah may undo the marriage, but it does NOT undo the legitimacy of any children that were born during the marriage. The children still have the presumption of paternity that is afforded to children born during a marriage.
A court cannot award BOTH an annulment and a divorce (or legal separation, dissolution, etc.) If one party files for annulment and the other party counterclaims for divorce or legal separation, that does not mean that annulment is now off the table. The court must decide if there are grounds for an annulment. Even if there are grounds for annulment, some of the grounds for annulment are also grounds for divorce. The best policy is for the court to allow the aggrieved party their choice of remedy, assuming that party has met his or her burden of proof.
In annulment, unlike divorce or dissolution (and sometimes legal separation), there is no property division, and no spousal support after the marriage is annulled.
Free Initial Consultation with an Annulment Lawyer
When you need an Annulment in Utah, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506