This is the next post in a series discussing annulments of marriage in Las Vegas, Nevada. My previous article discussed the limited circumstances under which the court may grant an annulment. Many people believe that annulments are widely available, however, judges will only grant an annulment when a marriage is based on fraud or when one party lacked the capacity to marry. As previously discussed, annulments can be an attractive option for couples who meet the eligibility requirements. In some instances, as I will address in this post, a divorce may be a more appropriate approach. It is important to discuss your options with an experienced divorce attorney. If you are in need of assistance, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
The legal significance of an annulment vs. a divorce is that when an annulment is granted, it is as if the marriage never actually occurred. The Clark County Family Court will attempt to return each spouse to their premarital financial state. In the case of a divorce, however, the Court will review and attempt to equitably divide joint assets and debts. If appropriate, the judge may also award spousal support or alimony. When considering whether to seek an annulment or divorce, a person should consider the length of their marriage and whether the couple has accumulated joint assets or debts. If a couple is otherwise eligible for an annulment and has been married for so little time that no joint assets or liabilities exist, it is likely the more beneficial approach. If, however, the two have been married long enough to have gathered shared debts or joint assets, then a divorce proceeding may be the only way to fairly and adequately distribute those items between the two.
Regardless of the amount of time a couple has been married, another important consideration when ending a marriage is whether one person has possibly committed marital waste. Consider, for example, a couple who, while visiting Las Vegas, gets intoxicated and decides to get married. During the trip, the man withdraws several thousands of dollars of his new wife’s money to fund his unsuccessful gambling. After a few days, she comes to her senses and wants to end the marriage. It may be possible to seek an annulment given that the two may have lacked the capacity to have entered into the marriage at the time it took place given their drunken states. However, if she seeks an annulment, she would not be able to make a claim that her husband committed marital waste by squandering her money on gambling. In a divorce proceeding, the judge would review the exorbitant spending and make a determination about whether he must repay the funds.
The choice to pursue a divorce vs. an annulment can have many lasting implications. I cannot stress enough the importance of consulting with a Las Vegas divorce attorney when approaching this decision. My office will explain which option is in your best interest. If you are in the process of ending your marriage, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.