Las Vegas Annulment?
A Simple Guide To Help You Get Rid Of The Dead Weight Now!
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After all of that…did you realize you made a huge mistake?
Or did you find out your spouse wasn’t the person you thought?
If you’ve decided that your marriage isn’t working out, it’s probably not too late to get an annulment.
Get answers to your most frequently asked questions about getting an annulment in Las Vegas here.
What Is A Marriage Annulment?
Generally, the word annulment means a revocation or the state of being canceled.
An annulled marriage is a marriage that never existed in the eyes of the law.
This is true whether an annulment occurs after a few days of being marriage or whether the marriage is annulled after decades. If your marriage is annulled it never existed.
Yeah…we know very Jedi mind trickish right?
Think of it this way, if you ask a judge for an annulment the judge will only decide whether or not the marriage exists.
You will not be able to ask for child support, spousal support or for the Court to divide your assets or debts.
In some cases, an annulled marriage may be preferred over a divorce.
For more information about annulment versus divorce, keep reading.
How Is An Annulment Different From Divorce?
As we said above, an annulment means the marriage never existed.
A divorce, recognizes a legal marriage and ends the marriage before the death or remarriage of another spouse.
Essentially, the end result of annulment and divorce are the same in that both processes end the marriage.
The main difference between an annulment and a divorce is the relief granted in the ending orders, or the decree, ending the marriage.
For example, a decree of annulment will simply state that the marriage is not valid and the marriage is over.
On the other hand, a decree of divorce might include orders distributing property, awarding one party alimony, making child custody determinations and/or awarding one party child support.
In most cases, if you seek an annulment, your family court judge will not entertain requests for alimony, custody, division of assets and debts and child support. Instead, your judge will only decide if the marriage is valid or not. If the marriage is declared invalid, you will be granted a Decree of Annulment.
If you are want orders for custody, support and dividing assets and debts, you are better off filing for divorce.
Also, if you file for an annulment in Nevada, you don’t have to meet the Nevada residency requirement like you do for a divorce.
On the other hand, annulments require more than just incompatibility in marriage. With a divorce you can simply say you no longer want to be divorced and you get a divorce. An annulment must meet the statutory grounds of void or voidable marriage to be granted…but more on this later.
What are the top reasons people choose to annul their marriage?
Not having the stigma of a divorce
Not having to divide assets and debts
Not having to pay spousal support
Protecting yourself from creditors of your spouse
Protecting yourself from fraud committed by your spouse
Who can get an annulment in Las Vegas?
There are two types of people who qualify for an annulment in Las Vegas.
The first type of people who qualify for a Las Vegas annulment are people who came to Vegas and got married but don’t live in Vegas.
For example, let’s say you came to Vegas, went a to a club, got crazy drunk, your friends convince you to get married at a drive through wedding chapel, as a joke you got married, went to bed, woke up the next day with a screaming hangover, and go home to the mid-West. Days later, you realized that the marriage is not a joke and now you want an annulment…you’re in luck! This is the exact type of situation that can qualify you for a Las Vegas annulment even if you don’t live in Las Vegas.
The second category of people who can get an annulment in Las Vegas are people who married somewhere else but live in Clark County, Nevada.
For example, you have lived in Henderson, Nevada for 10 years. You and your fiance plan a luxurious and expensive wedding in San Diego, California. You get married in San Diego, California and when your return to Henderson, Nevada you live for five years with your spouse. After five years of marriage things aren’t working out. You discover that your spouse never actually got divorced from their first marriage. You’re in luck! This qualifies you for an annulment in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For more information about the reasons for getting a Las Vegas annulment, keep reading.
What are the reasons I can get an annulment in Nevada?
Sounds complicated right?
. . . Well let’s break it down!
A void marriage is a marriage that cannot exist by law. These types of marriages are pretty clear cut and easy to identify.
For example, if you married your brother or sister, Game of Thrones style, this would be a void marriage. In Nevada, a marriage to a blood relative is a void marriage and an annulment will always be granted.
Another example . . .you were married years before and thought your divorce was finalized. You then met the love of your life and married in 2019 only to discover that your prior divorce was never completed. Your second marriage is a void marriage and will be annulled. In Nevada, a marriage where one spouse is already married to another is void and an annulment will always be granted.
So again, void marriages are pretty clear cut.
Usually, it is the voidable marriages that give people heartburn.
A voidable marriage is one where the marriage is valid until it is annulled. This means that it will be up to your family court judge to decide whether or not to annul your marriage.
Deciding whether or not a marriage is voidable usually depends on the facts of each case.
In Nevada, a marriage can be, but might not be, annulled for the following reasons:
Lack of consent of parent or guardian for a minor less than 18 years old
Want of understanding
Grounds for declaring a contract void in equity
A “want of understanding” can come from being too intoxicated to understand that the marriage was happening or from a mental defect or disability that made one spouse not completely understand the marriage.
A fraud marriage might include such matters as one party not wanting to live with the other or only marrying for immigration purposes.
Grounds for declaring a contract void in equity is a little more complicated. However, we recently completed an annulment for a client who married in Las Vegas but lived in another state. After the marriage, her husband never moved in with her and alleged that he was too anxious and depressed to go through with the marriage. After months of counseling and trying to get him to have a normal married relationship with her, she filed for an annulment. The judge granted the annulment on the grounds that the marriage was void in equity as the husband never performed any of his matrimonial duties and the husband was simply not capable of being married.
Keep in mind that with voidable marriages where intoxication, fraud or insanity are alleged, if the parties continue to live together as husband and wife chances are the Court will not grant an annulment.
What is the process for getting an annulment in Las Vegas?
As family law attorneys, for the us, the process for getting an annulment is fairly straight forward.
However, trying to get an annulment on your own can be mind boggling.
But don’t worry. . .
We’ve laid out the process for getting a Las Vegas annulment step by step.
What paperwork do I need to start my Las Vegas Annulment?
Keep in mind that this page only relates to Las Vegas annulments (you live in Clark County, Nevada now or you were married in Clark County, Nevada).
If you were married outside of Las Vegas and you do not live in Las Vegas, you will need to consult a specialist where you live or where you were married to find out if your marriage can be annulled.
Before you begin filing paperwork, you will need the following documents to complete the annulment:
Family Court Cover Sheet
Complaint For Annulment
Joint Preliminary Injunction
Affidavit of Service
Request For Summary Disposition
Resident Witness Affidavit (if you were married elsewhere but live in Las Vegas)
Decree of Annulment
What Do I Do Once I Have Filled Out All Of The Paperwork?
Don’t forget that there is a filing fee of $269 in Clark County for filing an annulment.
Once you have your filed Complaint for Annulment and your issued Summons and Joint Preliminary Injunction, you will need to have your spouse served with those documents. You can use an outside agency to serve the documents or you have them served by anyone over the age of 18 who must personally give the documents to your spouse.
YOU CANNOT MAIL THE DOCUMENTS TO YOUR SPOUSE! Your spouse must be personally served.
You have 120 days from the time the Complaint is filed to serve your spouse. If you don’t serve your spouse in time, your case will be dismissed unless you ask the judge for an extension.
If you cant find your spouse, you can serve them by publication. We suggest going to the Clark County Self Help Website for more information and the documents to serve by publication.
Whether you use an outside agency or a friend or family member to serve your spouse, once service is complete have the person who served the documents complete the Affidavit of Service and file this document into your case.
If you serve by publication, you will receive an Affidavit of Service By Publication which must be filed into your case.
Whether you personally serve or serve by publication, once service is complete you wait…your spouse will have 20 days to respond to your Complaint.
In the meantime, you should file your Affidavit of Resident Witness, if you need to, along with your Request for Summary Disposition.
If your spouse doesn’t respond, you can get a default by filing a Notice of Default and submitting your annulment decree to the judge to review and sign.
If your spouse agrees to the annulment, your spouse should file an Answer and you and your spouse may submit a Stipulated Decree of Annulment.
If your spouse disagrees with the annulment and files an Answer, you will need to set your case for a hearing so the judge can determine whether or not to grant you an annulment.
We Know…Annulments Can Be Complicated.
We get it!
Deciding whether or not to file for a Las Vegas Annulment can be complicated and time consuming.
Here are answers to some of your Frequently Asked Questions regarding Las Vegas annulments:
How long do you have to annul a marriage in Las Vegas?
In Nevada there is no set time frame to file for annulment. If you have a void marriage, the marriage cannot exist no matter how long it lasts. So even if you wait 10 years to file for an annulment, the annulment will be granted. However, if you have a voidable marriage, we recommend filing as soon as possible. The longer you wait to seek an annulment for a voidable marriage, the less likely the annulment will be granted.
Is an annulment better than a divorce?
This really depends on a lot of different facts. If you don’t want the stigma of a divorce, then annulment is better. If you want alimony or support, divorce is better. Also, keep in mind that you must meet the statutory grounds for an annulment and the residency requirements for a divorce.
Do both parties have to agree to get an annulment?
The simple answer is no. In any family law case, even annulments, having an agreement is better, but it is not always possible. We have had many annulments granted even when one spouse was not in agreement with an annulment. If you have a voidable marriage, it is harder to get an annulment if your spouse doesn’t agree but it isn’t impossible.
Is adultery a reason I can be granted an annulment?
Like any family law case, the facts matter. If your spouse had no intention of being married to you, ever, because of an affair with someone else, you might be able to convince a judge to annul the marriage. However, if you and your spouse have been married 10 years and you tolerated the affair for that long, chances are the judge won’t annul the marriage. Again, the facts of the case will matter as to whether or not adultery will be a basis to annul your marriage.
Why would my annulment be denied?
Usually, annulments are denied if you don’t meet the statutory grounds and you don’t put enough details in your paperwork to give the judge grounds to annul the marriage. The most common reason judges don’t annul marriages is because the marriage is voidable but whatever made the marriage void was tolerated by the other spouse for too long before an annulment was filed. For example, if you married a drug addict, didn’t know your spouse was a drug addict, stayed married for 3 months and then filed for annulment, chances are your annulment will not be granted. If you want out of your voidable marriage, you need to file for annulment immediately.
Can I get an annulment if I never registered my marriage in a foreign country?
We get this question a lot from people who live overseas and marry in Las Vegas. The simple answer to this one is you will not be able to get an annulment in Las Vegas just because you didn’t register the marriage elsewhere. You will still need to meet the statutory grounds for annulment.
How Much Does It Cost To Get An Annulment In Las Vegas?
Right out of the gate, the filing fee alone for an annulment is $269. Yup! $269 just to ask to dump the dead weight.
In addition to the filing fees, a process server can cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars and if you have to publish your annulment, you should expect to pay at least $100 for publishing fees.
There may be additional fees for notary services and court runner fees if you are doing an annulment yourself.
If you hire an attorney, usually the total fees include the costs for filing the paperwork, process server fees, notary fees and the publication costs.
Beware of anyone telling you they can do an annulment for $500 or less. This usually means you are paying a notary or paralegal NOT a lawyer. It is highly likely that this does not include filing fees, process server fees and publication costs. For $500 or less you might find yourself do most, if not ALL of the work to get your annulment done.
Costs for attorneys to handle a name change vary from law firm to law firm but you can expect to spend anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on how complicated your case is.
For more information about our fees and costs for a Nevada annulment call us at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form.
How Can I Find An Attorney To Help With My Las Vegas Annulment?
If you have a void marriage, you and your spouse are in agreement, you live in Las Vegas and you have lots of time on your hands, then chances are you don’t need a lawyer for your annulment.
Otherwise, we strongly recommend having an attorney draft the paperwork and attend court if you plan to seek an annulment in Clark County, Nevada.
There are just too many things that can go wrong and you shouldn’t leave your annulment to chance.
It is important to find an experienced Las Vegas annulment attorney who can best represent your interests.
But where do you start?
In this section, we outline how you can find the best family law attorney to help with your annulment.
CAN YOU FILE FOR ANNULMENT IN LAS VEGAS?
The first step is figuring out whether or not you can even file your case in Las Vegas.
Our office gets calls and inquiries from all over the world from people who want an annulment.
While we’d love to be able to help everyone, we are only licensed in Nevada and we only practice law in Clark County. This means we can only help people who qualify for an annulment in Las Vegas, Nevada or its immediate surrounding areas.
Our recommendation is that before you begin calling Las Vegas family law attorneys, you need to figure out whether or not your case qualifies for an annulment in Las Vegas.
Like we said above, you were either married in Las Vegas (Clark County) OR you currently live in Clark County, Nevada. If you don’t fit in one of these categories, it is unlikely any family law attorney in Las Vegas will be able to file your annulment here.
Once you have decided if your case can be filed in Nevada, your search for an attorney can begin.
RESEARCH PROSPECTIVE ANNULMENT ATTORNEYS
Online research is one place to start.
There are many, many websites devoted to identifying lawyers. However, it is super important to find a lawyer that not only specializes in family law but who also handles annulments.
There are many websites out there, like Avvo and Yelp that advertise for family law attorneys. But again, annulments are super specialized and it is important to find a lawyer that has experience with annulments.
When researching lawyers it’s also important to remember that the internet isn’t always 100% accurate in depicting a lawyer’s knowledge or capabilities. So if you find a lawyer you like on-line be sure to ask how much experience they have with annulments.
If you live in Las Vegas or know people who do, we suggest that you ask family and friends for recommendations.
When asking for references, be specific with them and tell them you want a lawyer that has experience with annulments.
Once you’ve identified a few family law attorneys, call their office and schedule an appointment to ask questions about your case. Again, make sure your potential lawyer has experience with annulments like yours.
Be sure the lawyer explains things in a way you understand and that you feel confident after speaking with the lawyer than they can handle your case.
Finally, be sure to discuss legal fees with the attorney. After all finding a lawyer that’s a great fit won’t work if you cant afford the legal fees.
If you have the lawyer that fits, that you trust and like and that fits in your budget, move forward and get your marriage annulled!