Marriage Annulment in Missouri
Is it possible to get a Marriage Annulment in Missouri? Attorneys from The Carson Law Firm can explain your options and help you plan your next step. Call us!
What Is a Marriage Annulment?
A legal annulment is different than one granted by a church or other entity. A legal annulment is a declaration by the court that the marriage never existed as a matter of law.
Annulment vs. Divorce
Annulment and divorce are entirely different. An annulment is a civil court process where the court finds that no valid marriage ever existed. No disposition is made of the property acquired during what is now no longer a marriage. Additionally, no allocation of responsibility for debts incurred during the marriage is made, and no child custody, child support, or spousal support orders are entered. Also, a child born during an annulled marriage or within 300 days following the annulment is a legitimate child.
Divorce is when a court dissolves a lawful and valid marriage so that it no longer exists but in no way finds that the marriage was void from the beginning. In a divorce, the court will address all property owned by the husband and wife and allocate responsibility for all debt incurred during the marriage, child custody, child support, spousal support, attorney’s fees, and litigation costs.
What Qualifies a Marriage for Annulment in Missouri?
In Missouri, there are seven possible bases for an annulment. Under Missouri law, the following “marriages” are either void or voidable, and most can be annulled:
This happens when one or both parties are legally married to someone else at the time of this marriage. This sometimes happens inadvertently if one of the “spouses” did not wait 30 days after a previous divorce judgment was entered.
2. Under Age
One of the people was under 18 and did not have the required parental written consent to marry.
3. Close Family Relationship
A marriage is invalid if the people are too closely related. This includes marriages between any of the following: a parent and child; a grandparent and grandchild of any degree; a brother and sister; an aunt and nephew or uncle and niece; or first cousins.
4. Lack of Capacity
One of the people lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage due to a mental or physical disability. Age is a very common basis for a lack of capacity claim.
5. Fraud or Duress
One of the people entered into the “marriage” due to duress (think shotgun marriage) or fraud or fraud (think misrepresentations on internet dating sites).
A voidable marriage results from the concealment or misrepresentation of one of the essential elements prior to making the marriage contract. A fraudulent marriage may be valid if one spouse discovers the fraud after the marriage, but the other spouse continues to live together.
6. Common Law Marriage
Some states recognize common law marriages as long as a couple holds themselves out as married for an extended period of time. All common-law marriages entered into after 1921 are void and not recognized by Missouri state law.
7. Sexual Impotence
If either the bride or groom cannot have normal sexual intercourse (even if it existed prior to the marriage), the court may find the marriage invalid, provided that the impotency is permanent, incurable, and not known prior to the marriage.
How Long After Marriage Can You Get an Annulment in Missouri?
An annulment may be granted at any time – it has never been too short or too long of a time.
Can You Get an Annulment Without the Other Person?
No, the other person must receive a notice of the petition. If personal service cannot be achieved, upon a showing that an adequate effort was made to locate and, if located, to serve the other party has been made, an order will be issued that service may be had by publication.
Service by publication involves a notice in an obscure publication read by few lawyers and fewer members of the general public. After the publication occurs and 45 days pass, a default judgment of annulment may be granted. A default judgment is called that to indicate that the other party did not appear.
How to Get a Marriage Annulment
Regardless of whether the marriage is invalid under any of the above situations and is therefore regarded as having never existed, you must still get an annulment to clarify your marital status.
To ask for a legal annulment, a petition must be filed in the appropriate court, and that court’s procedures must be followed.
Can a Lawyer Help Me With Annulment?
The law regarding annulments is complicated, so it is critical that you consult with a knowledgeable divorce and annulment lawyer before filing your case.
Choosing a divorce or annulment attorney is an important decision. Located in Clayton, Missouri, The Carson Law Firm handles annulment, divorce, child custody, and other family law matters. Get in touch with us today to set up a consultation.
We look forward to hearing from you!