This is the next post in my series discussing the termination of marriage by annulment in Las Vegas, Nevada. The previous post provided an overview of the key topics to be considered when attempting to annul a marriage. I also emphasized the need to retain an experienced family law attorney when contemplating ending a marital relationship. In this post I will discuss the major differences between a divorce and an annulment and how those differences may impact the parties involved. Understanding how the two differ may impact how you approach your case. If you are considering ending your marriage, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Marriages may be terminated in one of two primary ways in Clark County. Most commonly, couples will obtain a divorce. This is the legal process by which the marriage contract is dissolved and marital property and debts are distributed between the parties. In some cases, however, parties may have grounds for an annulment. This is different from a divorce because, from a legal standpoint, an annulment cancels the wedding contract as if it never took place at all.
A couple may only seek an annulment in certain limited circumstances, which I will address in depth later in this series. If the facts justify this approach, however, there can be significant benefits of having the marriage annulled vs. dissolved through a divorce proceeding. The practical effect of an annulment is that, in the eyes of the law, the marriage never occurred. As a result, the couple would never have shared any marital property or marital debts. If no joint assets or liabilities exist, there is nothing to divide between the spouses as may be the case in a divorce. Furthermore, neither party would be potentially responsible for ongoing spousal support payments or other financial obligations that may otherwise result from a divorce.
Suppose, for example, a couple gets married in Las Vegas and three months later desires to obtain an annulment because the husband lacked the capacity to enter into the marriage. During the three month relationship, the husband spent thousands of dollars using credit cards. Now suppose the court determines that the couple is not eligible for an annulment. If the parties elect to seek a divorce instead, the debt would be considered marital debt. Under the division of property rules, the court may hold the wife responsible for some portion of the amount. On the other hand, if the circumstances are valid grounds for an annulment, the marriage would never have existed. Therefore, the debt incurred would not be a joint obligation, but rather, would remain a debt of the husband following the termination of the marriage.
Given the potential benefits compared to a divorce, couples commonly seek to have marriages annulled. It is important to contact a knowledgeable Las Vegas annulment attorney to represent your interests. My office is dedicated to helping clients navigate this process. If you are considering terminating your marriage and believe you may have appropriate grounds for an annulment, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.