Annulment in Iowa

Divorce Papers » Annulment in Iowa

The annulment laws in Iowa clearly state that annulment is a legal process to terminate an illegal marriage. It strongly implies that a valid marriage never took place; hence, it cannot continue and thus, has to be annulled.

Steps in Filing for Annulment in Iowa:

The process of annulment in Iowa is similar to the divorce process of the state. There are three steps in filing the annulment in Iowa. These steps are as follows:

  • File the Petition - One is supposed to file the annulment petition with the local county courthouse where either of the spouse resides. The petition contains an appeal to grant annulment, the grounds on which it is to be granted and the details of the parties and their marriage.

  • Serve Summons to the Spouse - After the petition is filed, the court serves the summons to the spouse and one has to wait for the respondent to respond to the claims and allegations. The other party can respond to the charges or can counter-file a petition for divorce. If the petition for divorce is counter-filed, the court changes the lawsuit from annulment to divorce.

  • Prove Grounds - The grounds cited in the annulment petition should be proved with the help of the witnesses, exhibits and the documents. It is vital to prove the grounds for annulment and if not proved, the court does not grant the annulment citing the reason as lack of substantial proof.

  • Final Ruling - After the grounds are proved, the court gives its final ruling whether the annulment is granted or not. If it is granted, a court order or decree is issued so that the marriage is declared officially null and void.

Grounds for Annulment in Iowa:

The important part of laws and requirements for annulment in Iowa are the grounds on which the petitioner files for an annulment. These grounds are specified by the statute of Iowa and are limited. The annulment in Iowa is granted only in specific conditions and is a rare occurrence owing to the limit of the grounds and the difficulty in proving these grounds.

Let us have a detailed look at these grounds for annulment in Iowa:

  • Prohibited Marriages - The prohibited marriages according to the state of Iowa are bigamous marriages and same-sex marriages. A person is not supposed to enter a wedlock if he / she is priorly married to someone and the marriage is not dissolved by divorce or death. Such a marriage is considered as bigamous and it is prohibited in the state of Iowa. Same is the case with same-sex marriages. The state of Iowa does not recognize the marriages between the gay and lesbian couples and hence, these marriage are invalid right from the beginning. Such marriages cannot be legalized in any condition and thus, have to be declared null and void. Thus, annulment in Iowa can be granted if the petitioner proves that their marriage was either bigamous or same-sex.

  • Consummation - Refusal or inability to consummate the marriage can be a firm ground for annulment in Iowa. If the partner has been impotent at the time of the marriage and the condition was discovered by the petitioner after getting married, such a spouse can file for annulment on the basis of impotency. Besides this, deliberate refusal to consummate the marriage can also be used as a reason to get an annulment but it is hard to prove as their cannot be any witnesses or documents which can be produced who can testify such a thing in the court. Physical impotency can be proved in the court in order to get an annulment.

  • Fraud - Fraud in a marriage comprises anything right from concealment of important information to monetary fraud in order to lure the spouse into marriage. This could be anything like hiding the sexual preference, sexually transmitted diseases, responsibilities of a previous marriage or relationship such as children, support payment or hiding important information such as insanity, sterility or impotency which are crucial for the smooth functioning of a marriage.

    Besides, monetary fraud at the workplace and imprisonment due to the same as well incarceration due to insanity can also be considered as a fraud and annulment petition can be filed on these bases.

  • Force - If the spouse is lured into the wedlock by holding them onto the gunpoint or by threatening to hurt them or their near and dear ones, such a marriage is considered as duress and has to be annulled as it cannot be considered as valid. It lacks the free consent of both the partner sand hence cannot be considered as valid.

    Such marriages are popularly known as gunshot marriages and the number is on the rise. The annulment can be granted only if the force circumstances can be proved in front of the court.

  • Underage Marriage - When either of the spouse is under legal marriageable age, such a marriage is considered as underage marriage and has to be annulled. If in any special circumstances, the underage person has to marry, they need to obtain the parental consent to do so. Such a marriage is invalid from its inception and thus, has to be annulled. However, the age proof needs to be submitted so that the court can reach a reasonable verdict.

Laws and Requirements for Annulment in Iowa:

Some important points for annulment in Iowa:

  • The duration of marriage does not matter when it comes to granting the annulment.
  • The children of an in valid marriage are considered legitimate and both the spouses are responsible for them.
  • One has to pay only child support and not alimony in case of long term marriages.
  • Short term marriages are not eligible for property division and alimony.

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