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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Get an Annulment in Arizona

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If you are wondering how to get an annulment in Arizona, this post should help! An annulment is the legal acceptance by an Arizona court that a marriage is no longer valid. “An annulment is a legal procedure which cancels a marriage between a man and a woman.” [1] In Arizona, an annulment can be granted if the marriage was void from the beginning of the marriage or, according to the Arizona Revised Statues, a diriment impediment existed that caused the marriage to be void. As an example, if you were underage or already married at the time of your marriage, these would be interpreted as grounds for annulment in the State of Arizona. To receive an annulment in Arizona, you follow the same process you would if you were filing for divorce.

Step 1. Wait 90 Days

Make sure that Arizona has jurisdiction over your annulment proceedings. In order for the State of Arizona to have jurisdiction, you or your spouse are required to live in Arizona for a minimum of 90 days before you file for annulment.

Step 2. Obtain an Annulment Petition

Obtain a Petition for Annulment of Marriage form from your nearby superior court. In some Arizona counties, the form can also be found on the court’s website. If you’re not sure about what court is your nearby superior court, get in touch with the bar association in your city or town for more information.

Annulment Without Children

Consent Decree Annulment

Step 3. Complete the Annulment Petition

Once you have it complete the Petition for Annulment of Marriage form. This petition can be completed by either of you. As soon as you complete the petition, supply the requested information about you and your purported spouse, including your full name and your mailing address. Describe to the court why you are petitioning an annulment and the legal grounds for filing the annulment in the section entitled, “Other Statements to the Court.”

Step 4. File the Annulment Petition

File the petition in the proper superior court. You need to file the petition with the clerk of the superior court in the county in which either of you lives. When you file, you will have to pay a filing fee to the superior court’s clerk. This fee will vary by county.

Step 5. Serve the Filed Petition

Serve your spouse, usually called the respondent, with a copy of the petition you filed. Carefully follow the guidelines provided to you or instructions included with the petition and other annulment forms given to you by the courthouse. This will ensure your spouse receives the notice of the pending action.

Step 6. Wait for your Spouse to Respond

Wait the required time to allow your spouse to respond. 20 days is the amount of time the respondent has to reply to the petition. Your spouse may want to dispute the petition. If they do no respond within 20 days, they lose their right to challenge the requested annulment.

Responding To An Annulment

Step 7. Review the Courts Letter to Find your Hearing Date

Review the court’s letter listing the date/time of your annulment hearing. You will receive a letter from the court with your annulment hearing date and time. Didn’t receive a letter? Court didn’t schedule a hearing? You can contact the court to make sure your letter will be sent and that your hearing is scheduled.

Step 8. Attend your Annulment Hearing

Make sure you attend your marriage annulment hearing. At the annulment hearing, the court will decide whether you have enough evidence or not to grant an annulment. The court will evaluate your evidence and testimony, and either deny or grant your request for an annulment. Their may also be an additional hearing to divide assets and determine child custody, if needed.

Sources

1. Stock, Elizabeth. “How to Get an Annulment in Arizona.” LegalZoom Legal Info, 21 Nov. 2017, info.legalzoom.com/annulment-arizona-23724.html.

2. “What’s the Legal Difference Between Annulment and Divorce?” Legalzoom.com, 19 Feb. 2019, www.legalzoom.com/articles/whats-the-legal-difference-between-annulment-and-divorce.

Canterbury Can Help With Marriage Annulment In Arizona

Marriage annulment is a term many people have heard of, but only a few really understand. Forget about what you may have heard about annulment on TV. There are actually two types of marriage annulments: civil and religious. A religious annulment is granted by a religious institution like a church and its clergy. Civil annulment is granted by a court of law and affects your legal civil status. This article explains civil annulment. Learn more about Marriage Annulment In Arizona.

The Canterbury Law Group should be your number one choice for when you need an annulment in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you side by side to achieve the best possible legal outcome. You can trust Canterbury Law Group to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. You can contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your unique situation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Alimony Factors in Arizona

Alimony is the former name for what’s now called spousal maintenance. Alimony is financial assistance that the court orders one spouse to provide another spouse when a marriage ends. One spouse must request spousal support for the court to issue an order compelling the payments. There are several factors that a court takes into account when determining alimony. The court first examines certain qualifying factors to determine if one spouse even can procure alimony and then and only then decides how much and for how long.   There are no juries in Arizona family court, only a sitting judge.  So whether you like it or not, one person, in a black robe, will someday make a big decision on how much and how long your ex-spouse may or may not be paid upon divorce.

The Need for Spousal Maintenance

The court first decides whether one spouse actually qualifies for spousal maintenance and whether the other has the means to pay, before ordering maintenance be paid. A spouse may request alimony if he or she does not have enough property after marital distribution to provide for oneself, or is somehow unable to find proper employment. If one spouse has significantly contributed financially to the other spouse’s education, then alimony can be requested by the spouse who contributed. The court will look at the other’s spouse’s financial situation as well. A divorce lawyer in Scottsdale can help you file an alimony petition.

Duration of Marriage Affects Alimony

The longer the separating couple has been married, the higher the chance for alimony for one spouse may be. Generally speaking, if married less than 5 years, procuring maintenance from the wealthier spouse can be a challenge, or impossible. Once one hits ten years or more, the ability to obtain maintenance for some period of time appears to jump significantly.  If you have been married 30 years or more you can almost guarantee that someone is going to be paying spousal maintenance to the other.

The law of Arizona specifically states to take the duration of marriage into consideration when setting alimony. However, the law does not specify the ideal duration or a minimum duration. So even a spouse that was married for just a week can technically request alimony.  As noted, however, marriages of short duration rarely qualify for a payout.

Can Alimony Be Granted to Unfaithful Spouses?

The short answer is yes.  This is a common question for some divorcees. Understandably, a spouse may not want to pay alimony to another who has been unfaithful throughout the marriage. So, some spouses may prefer to have such spousal misconduct be a factor in determining alimony. However, in Arizona, divorce is not granted based on spousal misconduct. Arizona is a no fault jurisdiction.  Thus, couples can file for divorce in Arizona without providing a reason. If one spouse contests the divorce, the other spouse only has to show to the court that the marriage is broken beyond repair. Marital misconduct is not legally relevant to the divorce proceedings, and therefore will not play a role in any alimony fight. Unfaithfulness on one side does not lead to automatically denying alimony for that spouse, nor does the court demand the cheating spouse to pay the other. The same applies for dissolution of covenant marriages.  Long story short, while he or she may have cheated—he or she may still get paid by the Court depending on your income and length of marriage.

Prenup Roles in Alimony

A prenuptial agreement is an optional private contractual agreement that spouses enter into before marriage. When a couple divorces, a prenup is upheld for the most part if all provisions are in accordance with the law. If one spouse has agreed not to seek alimony in a prenup, the court will often uphold this in divorce proceedings. However, the court may rule otherwise if the spouse that needs alimony could end up in a welfare state without spousal maintenance. Arizona law allows courts to decline the validity of prenups if one spouse could end up in dire financial need following divorce.

Determining alimony is affected by many factors. Consult with a competent divorce lawyer to secure alimony as you desire, or to defend vigorously against paying it.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Marriage Annulment in Arizona

Marriage annulment is a term many people have heard of, but only a few really understand. Forget about what you may have heard about annulment on TV. There are actually two types of marriage annulments: civil and religious. A religious annulment is granted by a religious institution like a church and its clergy. Civil annulment is granted by a court of law and affects your legal civil status. This article explains civil annulment.

What is Civil Annulment in Arizona?

Civil marriage annulment takes place when a court declares that a marriage is not valid but void. It means that the court legally declares that for legal purposes the couple was never married. It can be confusing, but if what was considered a marriage was not obtained in accordance with legal requirements for marriage in Arizona, the court can annul the marriage. It’s sort of like a court “erasing” a marriage. It is as if the marriage literally never happened.

The Two Types of Civil Annulment

Courts in Arizona classify annulments in two ways as voidable marriages and void marriages. A void marriage is a union that was not valid from the beginning. Arizona has a list of prohibitions for marriage, such as incest, which would make a marriage completely invalid. If a biological brother and a sister got married, this is not a marriage that the state recognizes as valid, and therefore would incur in a void annulment.   There are several other methods by which a marriage can be deemed void and you should consult a family law attorney for more details.

A voidable annulment is where one party can seek an annulment from a court. For example, if one spouse was deceived into marrying the other, the wronged spouse has the right to request a voidable marriage annulment.  Deception grounds can include, for example, failure to consummate the marriage by one partner refusing to ever have sex with the other spouse at any time after the ceremony.  Again, consultation with legal counsel is critical before you seek annulment.

Is an Annulment Any Different from Divorce?

Getting a divorce involves going through often-lengthy court proceedings to formally end a marriage. The important difference between divorce and annulment is that in the case of the former, the courts recognize the marriage as valid, and thus to end it there must be divorce proceedings according to the law. Annulments do not require going through lengthy court proceedings. Once a judge declares a marriage invalid, it’s no more.  It typically can occur far faster than a conventional divorce litigation.

It should be understood that not all annulments are quick and painless. There are very specific grounds under which a marriage can be annulled.  Absent qualification for such a remedy, your case will be diverted to a conventional divorce resolution like everyone else.

What are the Grounds for an Annulment?

Under Arizona law, there is a list of “void and prohibited marriages.” Any marriage that falls in this category is not recognized by the state as valid. Arizona prohibits marriage between parents and children, between grandparents and grandchildren, between whole or half-blood brothers and sisters, between first cousins (but only under certain conditions), and between uncles or aunts and nieces and nephews. Same sex marriage was also once considered “void and prohibited”. However, recent Supreme Court rulings have changed that. Same sex marriage is now legal and the law of the land.

There are other reasons a spouse can request an annulment, such as fraud, deception, coercion, intoxication (when getting married), underage marriages without parental consent, mental illness, “mock” marriages, inability to consummate the marriage, bigamy, and incest. To know for sure if your marriage can be annulled, get family law help in Scottsdale.

If the couple has children, the annulment proceedings will determine which party should be responsible for the children. The court may not recognize certain property as “marital assets” if the marriage is considered void. You should contact a lawyer with specifics to find out how annulment proceedings may affect children or assets. Annulment compared to divorce can generate a significantly different outcome in property allocations in any divorce or annulment scenario.