Annulment in Utah

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Annulment in Utah is not very common and is granted in very rare cases. Instead, the court encourages the couple to go for mediation or if not possible, divorce. There is no specified time limit as given by the statute to file for an annulment. A person can file for an annulment whenever they find out about the factors that render their marriage null and void.

Annulment in Utah is also known as "Judgment of Annulment" or "Declaration of Nullity" and it is granted in the form of a court order. Though it is a rare occurrence, annulment can be granted if all the necessary proofs are submitted and the respondent agrees to the charges leveled against him / her.

Grounds for Annulment in Utah:

The specific grounds required for annulment in Utah are defined by the statute and the annulments are granted only under these specific grounds. These grounds are divided in two categories. These categories are as follows:

  1. Grounds based on Prohibited Marriages - The marriages which are forbidden by law are known as prohibited marriages and if they take place, they are considered void ab initio. For such marriages, a mere "Declaration of Nullity" is required and the annulment can be granted on the grounds based on prohibited marriages.

    The grounds under this category are as follows:

    • Underage Marriage - The legal marriageable age in the state of Utah is 16 with parental consent and 18 without parental consent. If either of the spouses are under the age 18 during the marriage, such marriage is considered as void and null "right from its inception" and can be annulled on the grounds of being underage. However, even with the parental consent, either of the spouses is under the age 16, it is a criminal offense and such marriage always remains illegitimate and can be annulled on the basis of being underage.

    • Bigamy - A bigamous marriage is prohibited in every state of the USA including Utah. If a person married another person while being married to another surviving non-divorced spouse, it is termed as bigamy which is a criminal offense deserving a fine and an imprisonment.

      After the wronged spouse files for an annulment, they have to submit the proof of the previous marriage and then the marriage can be annulled.

    • Incest or Consanguinity - Marriage within the blood relations is termed as incestuous marriage. People descending from the same ancestors or blood line even if having different last names cannot marry each other. Such a marriage will be termed as incest even if the relationship is legitimate.

      However, the proof of the husband and wife's relationship needs to be submitted in the court so as to get an annulment on the grounds of incest or consanguinity.

    • Same-sex Marriage - Marriage between lesbian and gay couple are not recognized and prohibited by the law. As this marriage is void ab initio, a "Declaration of Nullity" is enough to erase the marriage. The theory behind this is a marriage which is basically illegal cannot be annulled all over again.

      The same-sex marriages are prohibited all over the USA except Massachusetts and thus have to be annulled according to the statute of Utah.

  2. Grounds based on Common State Laws - Some conditions are defined by the common state laws which are not supposed to be there when a marriage is conducted. The marriages which can be voided after certain discoveries or changes into the circumstances can be annulled on the grounds based on common state laws by passing a "Judgment of Annulment".

    The grounds that fall under this category are as follows:

    • Fraud - If either of the partner has been lured into getting married by the other partner under false pretenses or lying and deceit, such a marriage is termed as a fraud or sham marriage. The fraud can comprises of lying about the desire to have children, physical inability to consummate the marriage, mental illness rendering either of the spouses incapacitated to normal functioning, contested pregnancy or any other fact that seriously hamper the marital life of the couple.

    • Concealment - Trust is the base of any relationship. Concealment of important facts that threaten the well-being of the other spouse or the family, can be a firm ground for an annulment in Utah. This point is the extension of fraud.

      Concealment may include hiding the sexual preference, not intending to be faithful to one's married spouse, hiding fetishism or sadomasochism, if any. There are also other facts such as hiding impotency, sterility or a severe mental disorder which renders the working of a marital relationship, impossible.

    • Misrepresentation - Each fact of the personal life which is detrimental to a healthy marital relationship should be shared with the partner. This may include responsibilities from a previous relationship or marriage such as children or support payments, a previous sex-change operation, profession or sexuality.

    • Consummation - Outright refusal to consummate the marriage seriously undermines the purpose of marriage, that is, procreation. Besides, the other partner remains unsatisfied both sexually and emotionally. Satisfying one's partner and providing him/her love and care are some of the important vows taken during the marriage. Thus, a marriage which was never consummated can be annulled solely on the grounds of refusal to consummate.

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