Annulment in Arkansas is an often misinterpreted legal concept due to popular cultural and religious different presentations of Annulment. In this article, we solely focus on “civil annulments” and not “religious annulments” which are only issued by a church or clergy member.
The correspondence between annulment and divorce lies in the fact that they both make a resolution about marital status. However, the key difference between them is that divorce means ending an already existing and legitimate marriage, in contrast, an annulment states that what everyone thought was a marriage was never actually a marriage at all. According to the law, an unusual marriage never really happened.
Legal grounds of annulment in Arkansas
Courts will require a marriage to be annual if one of the following situations is confirmed:
If the marriage process took place while one of the parties was mentally ill, insane or so mentally retarded that he or she could not knowingly or willingly consent to the marriage, then the marriage could be annulled. In this case, annulment is granted on the basis that marriage is a consensual relationship, and most mentally, insane or retarded people are considered unqualified to give legal consent.
If temporary or periodic insanity is confirmed, that moment will depend on the affected person’s condition and his or her legal capacity to marry at the time of the marriage. The marriage will not be annulled if it took place during a “lucid” interval between occurrences of temporary insanity.
If one of the parties concealed the truth, or distorted information with the aim of persuading the other party to enter into the marriage, then the marriage may be annual because of fraud.
•Lack of consent or duress:
In case of compelling a person to marry another by force or use of threats and violence that will overpower the mind and will of a person of ordinary mental strength, the marriage may be annulled on the basis that marriage is a consensual relationship, and the conversion under threat is inconsistent with consent. Proof of actual threats of serious violence is required.
An annulment in Arkansas will be conferred if any of the spouses was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage, or if there is any evidence that there was such intoxication at the marriage ceremony that either spouse was incompetent enough to understand the nature of the marriage contract and its outcomes.
•Lack of parental approval for a minor's marriage:
Most states have marriage age requirements. In most cases, minors under the age of 18 must obtain parental authorization before marrying. The marriage would be subject to annulment if an underage person obtained a marriage license without court or parental approval.
•One of the parties is already married (bigamy):
A marriage might be canceled if one of the parties is already married.
All states prohibit weddings between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of all degrees; half-blood brothers and sisters; uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews, and first cousins.
A marriage entered into with no intention of it being legally binding is considered a mock marriage and is null and void. However, if the couple agrees to marry in order to achieve a specific goal, such as legitimizing a child, the majority of courts will recognize the marriage as valid and will not grant an annulment.
What is the procedure for obtaining a court order to annul my marriage in Arkansas?
The statutes on annulment in Arkansas are interpreted very rigorously by the courts. For example, if a person who got married while being underage later seeks an annulment on the basis of youth, the claim may be denied by a judge. You must be ready to establish your claim if you desire an annulment.
An annulment action ("complaint for annulment") must be submitted in the circuit court of the county where the "complainant" (the person seeking the annulment, also known as the "plaintiff") resides and has lived for at least 60 days, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Other documents may be required, and both parties must adhere to the norms of service of process.
A marriage in Arkansas can be declared null and void and annulled by a court order. Both parties will be summoned to appear in court, where the court will hear testimony, consider written submissions and the law, and issue an order. Even if the "defendant" (the party opposing the annulment) fails to respond to the complaint or appear at the court hearings, the plaintiff must appear and present sufficient evidence to support the annulment request. This may necessitate the plaintiff testifying.
Since annulments have significant financial and custody implications, it is essential to consult with a lawyer before proceeding.
Benefits of filing annulment in Arkansas
1. Annulment is faster and simpler than a divorce.
2. Annulment is less expensive than a divorce.
3. There are no residency requirements for annulment in Arkansas.
4. You do not need to prove grounds for annulment in Arkansas.
5. Annulment dissolves the marriage immediately; divorce does not.
6. If your spouse remarries after an annulment, you are still considered unmarried.
7. You can remarry immediately after an annulment.
8. Annulments are rarer than divorces.
9. The Catholic Church does not recognize divorce; it only recognizes annulments.
10. If you have been divorced, you cannot get an annulment.
Drawbacks of filing annulment over divorce in Arkansas
1. The process of annulment is more complicated than divorce.
2. Annulment may not be available to everyone who wants it.
3. Annulment can be expensive.
4. You may have to wait longer for an annulment than a divorce.
5. Not all grounds for annulment are valid in every state.
How much time it will take to get an annulment in Arkansas
How much it can cost to file annulment in Arkansas?
Do you need an attorney to file annulment in Arkansas?
No, you do not need an attorney to file for annulment in Arkansas. You can represent yourself in court. Arkansas law does not require that grounds for annulment be alleged in any particular order. Simply list all of the grounds on which you are basing your request for annulment. The court will then review your petition and make a determination based on Arkansas law.
There are, however, a few things to keep in mind if you choose to represent yourself. First, the law can be complex and confusing. If you are not familiar with the law, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help you navigate the legal process. Second, even though you are not required to have an attorney, the court may still require that you follow certain procedures and provide certain information. If you are not familiar with the court's procedures, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to help you ensure that your petition is filed correctly and that all required information is provided. Finally, keep in mind that even if you are successful in having your marriage annulled, there may be other legal consequences of your marriage that you will need to address, such as property division or child custody. An attorney can help you understand these potential consequences and how to best protect your interests.
Can I get an annulment if my spouse disagrees?
Can you apply for annulment in Arkansas if you have children?
The Implications of an Annulment in Arkansas
Some people are concerned that if their marriage is annulled, their children's paternity will be brought into question. Technically, this is correct. Because an annulled marriage has no legal standing, the children born as a result of the "marriage" are born to single parents. This, however, is just a technical distinction with hardly any practical significance since Arkansas law demands the court that rules on annulment in Arkansas to also rule on custody and support., although the annulled marriage was never valid.
Courts in most states lack the authority to award joint custody or divide property or debts because an annulled marriage is legally regarded as never having been valid. The justification is that there cannot be a marital estate if there was no valid marriage. As a result, in Arkansas, couples undergoing an annulment in Arkansas must divide their own property, including both assets and debts.
After the annulment in Arkansas is finalized, neither party can receive permanent alimony or survivorship benefits from the other. While the annulment is pending, it may be possible to receive short-term alimony; this should be discussed with a knowledgeable Arkansas lawyer.