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In Arizona, the law related to annulments is putting it nicely convoluted. That is why I preface this blog post by saying that if you even remotely believe that you are entitled to an annulment, please meet with an experienced Arizona family law attorney versed on the specific subject matter prior to commencing action with the court.
In order to qualify for an annulment in Arizona, there must be something called an impediment that renders the marriage void. See A.R.S. § 25-301. An annulment is different from a divorce in that under the former the marriage is “void” and therefore will be considered unrecognized; whereas with the latter the marriage is considered valid and recognized and thus subject to community property marital distribution laws and principles. Thus, to avoid application of the “equitable division (50/50)” distribution that comes with every divorce action, an annulment may instead be sought.
For purpose of annulment, a void marriage is defined by A.R.S. § 25-101 as a marriage “between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the one-half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews and between first cousins” or “between persons of the same sex.” A void marriage is a nullity. Though it has no legal validity an annulment action is necessary to establish its invalidity as a matter of record.
Although any given marriage may be “void”, that marriage nonetheless continues until one spouse exercises his or her right to have it annulled. A non exhaustive list of reasons for rendering a marriage voidable include: an undissolved prior marriage, one party being underage, a blood relationship, the absence of mental or physical capacity, intoxication, the absence of a valid license, duress, refusal of intercourse, fraud and misrepresentation as to religion.
Although many domestic relations (family law) forms can be obtained online through your local Superior Court’s website, because they are rarely used in today’s society you will have a hard time finding forms and/or petitions for Arizona annulments online. Again, this is but another reason why it is imperative that you meet with an experienced Arizona family law attorney prior to commencing an action for annulment with your local Superior Court.
It is also important to note that by statute, jurisdictional and procedural requirements for obtaining an annulment are the same as those for a divorce action. See A.R.S. § 25-302(A). Finally, if your annulment action is successful and thus renders your marriage voidable, it is worth noting that the court does possess jurisdiction to divide property and restore the same to each party as it was possessed prior to the voided marriage and may likewise determine matters related to children common to the parties such as custody, parenting time, and child support.
For more information on this or any other Arizona family law matter please contact Ryan M. Reppucci, Family Law Attorney at the Law Firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC at 602-515-0841.
Filed under: 25-403, 25-403.06, Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Best Interest, Cheap Family Law Firm, Cheap Fees, Child Support, Custody, Discount Arizona Family Firm, Discount Arizona Family Lawyer, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Maricopa County, Modification, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Pleadings, Rule 5
Often times I meet with prospective clients who for example have filed for a modification of child support (simplified) and while that matter is pending the other party or they themselves file for modification of another family law issue, be it custody or parenting time for example. People in this situation often ask if it possible to consolidate both matters together so they are heard by the court at once instead of on two separate occasions.
Rule 5, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, (“ARFLP”), states in relevant part:
[w]hen actions within the scope of these rules involving a common child, common parties, or a common question of law or fact, are pending before the court, the court may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions or order all the actions consolidated, and the court may make such orders concerning proceedings therein to avoid unnecessary costs or delay or to serve in the best interest of a minor child.
Therefore, in accordance with the ARFLP, if your Arizona family court matter is one qualifying for consolidation, you have the right to request of the court that both or all issues be heard together at once. As the rule indicates though, the court may deny such consolidation if to do so would not serve the best interest of a minor child. One example where the best interest of the minor child may not be served by consolidation is when a pending petition for modification of child support which asks for an increased monthly amount is before the court in concert with another request, for instance a modification of child custody and/or parenting time.
In this circumstance, it generally will take the court much longer to hear the matters related to child custody and/or parenting time and if child support is to be adjusted and/or increased then the child’s best interest would not be served by delaying that matter to be heard in conjunction with the custody or parenting time issues. This is merely one example and many others should be considered prior to asking the court to consolidate your family law matters. For this reason it is suggested that you contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney or Ryan M. Reppucci at the law firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC to discuss the specifics of your case before making such request of the court.