I’m sure you’d agree with me that Vegas is a place where people come to party and can find themselves leaving with a spouse. As a Las Vegas Family Law Attorney, we get calls regularly asking about annulments. However, not everyone that gets married in Vegas, can get an annulment in Vegas.
By the time you are done reading this article, you should leave with the knowledge about whether or not your marriage qualifies for a Nevada annulment and how to get your marriage annulled.
Follow these simple steps to determine whether you can file your annulment in Nevada:
1. Were you married in Nevada?
If you were married in Nevada, then there is a good chance you can get your marriage annulled in Nevada. If you weren’t married in Nevada, don’t worry. You might still be to qualify for a Nevada annulment.
If you live in Nevada or your spouse lives in Nevada, you can still try to obtain a Nevada annulment. If you read this article and determine you still can’t get annulment but you (or your spouse lives in Nevada), you can likely qualify for a Nevada divorce. However, this is the subject of a different article which you can read about here: Nevada Divorce Requirements
2. Do you have a basis for your annulment?
In Nevada, there are two types of marriages that can be annulled: (1) a void marriage OR (2) a voidable marriage. These sound like really annoying legal terms (duh – we are lawyers) so let’s break those down.
A void marriage means that the marriage is not valid as a matter of law. Usually, we see this where one spouse is already married to someone else and didn’t get a divorce. Another situation that we don’t see very often is where the spouses are related. (We know it’s gross but it happens).
A voidable marriage is one that means it is up to the judge to decide whether or not you meet the statutory requirements for an annulment. This can be through fraud, mistake or want of understanding (we know more lawyer terms). The best example we can give is the spouse that comes to Vegas, gets totally plastered drunk and ends up getting married by Elvis. Both parties think the marriage is fake but in reality they are married. In this situation, it will be up to the person seeking the annulment to show the judge that they were really drunk and couldn’t possibly understand that the marriage was going to be the real deal.
Two side tips: (1) don’t wait 10 years to try to convince a judge you didn’t know the marriage was real….ok well not 10 years but you get the point. If you thought your marriage was fake do something about it ASAP. The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to get it annulled and (2) be prepared to present witnesses to show you had no idea what was going on. Vegas requires a marriage license to get married. This means going somewhere, usually to the Courthouse, waiting in line, filing out a form, presenting ID and getting a document BEFORE you see Elvis and say “I do.” So, if you are really that drunk you will need more than just your word. Take our advice – a judge won’t believe just you.
3. File a Complaint For Annulment and have your spouse served.
If you have think you have the grounds to get an annulment and you were married in Nevada or you live in Nevada, the next step will be to file your complaint for annulment and have your spouse served. Sample complaints for annulment can be found on-line or, if you are doing this in Clark County, Nevada, at the Self Help Center.
You will need to fill out the complaint, file it with the Court in your jurisdiction (where you were married or if you live in Nevada, in the county where you live) and then you will have to have your spouse served with a Summons and a Complaint for Annulment.
Service of the annulment Complaint requires either personal service, meaning your spouse is handed the papers by a process server or other uninterested individual over the age of 18, OR you have the complaint served by publication. The publication process can be lengthy and expensive so it is important that it be done correctly. A discussion on publication exceeds the scope of this article.
4. Once your spouse is served, wait for their answer.
Now that you have served your spouse, you have to wait 20 days for them to answer your complaint.
If your spouse doesn’t respond at all proceed to Step 5. If your spouse answers, your next steps will depend on how your spouse responds.
If an answer is filed that says your spouse isn’t contesting the annulment, proceed to step 5. If your spouse is contesting the annulment, prepare for battle. There is a good chance, your case is going to get set for a trial and it will be up to the judge to decide whether or not to grant the annulment. At this point, we’d strongly encourage you to speak with an attorney to figure out what to do next.
5. Submit your decree of annulment (and other documents).
If your spouse has not answered or your spouse has answered but is not contesting the annulment, you can submit your Decree of Annulment to the judge for signature. Before you submit the Annulment Decree, make sure you have your other paperwork filed, such as an affidavit of Plaintiff and your request for Summary Disposition. Again, these forms can be found on-line and at the Self Help Center.
We hope we have answered your Nevada Annulment questions and that you have found this article helpful. If so, please leave your comments below as we would love to hear from you. If, after reading this article, you’ve decided that our simple steps aren’t so simple, but you’d like annulment anyway, please call our office at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form
for more information about an annulment.