Divorce is not the only method for terminating a marriage. Under certain circumstances, a marriage may be annulled in Nevada. Annulment and divorce are related concepts, but they differ in several key respects.
What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment in Nevada?
Both divorce and annulment legally terminate a marriage; however, the two concepts are distinct.
An annulment retroactively invalidates a marriage from the point the marriage was entered into. Because an annulment invalidates the marriage, the marriage will be treated legally as if it never existed.
On the other hand, a divorce is simply the termination of a valid marriage. A divorce does not retroactively invalidate a marriage ... it only terminates the marriage from the date of divorce forward.
For a marriage to be annulled in Nevada, it must be void or voidable for a reason specified by Nevada law.
What marriages are automatically "void" in Nevada?
In Nevada, some marriages are automatically void without divorce, annulment, or other legal proceedings. Marriages will be void if:
The spouses are related by blood; or
Either spouse is married to another person during the marriage.
Because Nevada law does not acknowledge the validity of marriages entered into under either of these circumstances, such a marriage is void and requires no further formal legal proceeding.
Even if the marriage is not automatically void for the reasons stated above, a spouse may still seek an annulment if the marriage is voidable.
What marriages are "voidable" in Nevada?
In Nevada, there are four scenarios under which a marriage may be voidable and thus annulled.
(1) Where parental consent to the marriage was required, but was not obtained at the time of marriage.
- This occurs where the marriage was entered into while one of the parties was under the age of 18.
(2) Where there was a “want of understanding” between the couple.
- Want of understanding typically arises where one of the parties could not have consented to the marriage due to insanity, mental disability, or any other mental state which would prevent a person from consenting to the marriage.
(3) Where the either party's consent to the marriage was obtained by fraud.
- This occurs where one of the parties conceals or misrepresents important facts about themselves at the time of marriage.
(4) Where any cause which would be grounds for voiding a contract exists.
- These causes may include duress, mistake, or undue influence.
Why should I hire an attorney?
Like the divorce process, having a marriage annulled is an emotional and difficult affair. Whether a marriage will ultimately be annulled depends upon a variety of complicated and confusing factors.
The experienced Las Vegas divorce lawyers at Las Vegas Defense Group, L.L.C., will help you through the process to protect your important legal rights.