Many marriages fall apart, some quickly, some over a long period of time. In most cases, the couple will divorce; in some instances, an annulment -- a court order that in essence states the marriage never took place -- may be sought instead. Legal annulments are not common. All states have their own laws governing grounds for annulments, including Kansas.
Duration of Marriage
In marriages of short duration, where little has yet occurred to cloud the legal waters, an annulment may be the route of choice. Annulments can also take place in longer-term marriages if both parties agree and there are no complex issues to resolve.
Reasons for Annulment
According to Kansas state statutes, an annulment typically is granted for one of two basic reasons: If the marriage is considered void -- for instance, if a person unknowingly marries a first cousin -- or if fraud by one spouse convinced the other to marry him or her. A lack of knowledge of pertinent issues, such as one spouse being a felon, also can be grounds to request an annulment.
Issues to Be Settled
Many of the same issues as a divorce must be settled in an annulment, although they are usually less complicated because the marriage is shorter in term. These issues can include child support and custody; whether a spouse is entitled to alimony; who assumes what debt; and who gets what part of the personal property. In an annulment, these matters usually -- but not always -- are agreed upon by the parties amicably, with nothing contested.
Petitioning for an Annulment
To get the annulment process moving in court, one of the spouses must file a petition stating the grounds. The other spouse may in turn file an answer stating he accepts the petition -- or he may file a counterclaim stating the annulment request should be rejected.
After an annulment is granted, both former spouses have the right to remarry.