Young people swept away by romance sometimes make foolish mistakes, and marry before they mature. A few people lie to convince a paramour to get married. Unfortunate circumstances require a remedy to a marriage made in haste. The legal relief known as annulment, available in Arkansas and elsewhere, might be an option. Annulment involves a legal process that declares a marriage null and void, as if it never existed.
Determine your grounds for annulment. The Arkansas Code states that annulments are granted only for specific reasons. Parents might have a child's marriage annulled if the male is younger than 17 -- or the female is younger than 16 -- at the time of marriage. Those without the mental or physical capacity to enter into marriage are typically granted an annulment. Fraud, force, same-sex and incestuous marriages all qualify as grounds to file for annulment in Arkansas.
Obtain birth certificates for grounds of insufficient age. Guardians attempting to annul a minor child's marriage in Arkansas must show the court order awarding them custody of the child. Medical records and psychological records might be required to prove physical or mental incapacity to enter into marriage. Documents that usually prove fraud or force include police reports, and personal correspondence relating to the fraud or force. Ask pertinent witnesses to testify on your behalf.
Consult an attorney experienced in family law to file an annulment in Arkansas. Check the Arkansas Judiciary web page (see Resources) to search for an attorney in your area. Do-it-yourself, or pro se, filers can download the Domestic Relations Cover Sheet (see Resources), required for the filing of every annulment. Complete that form as per the instructions. Arkansas considers requests for annulments in the Circuit Court system. Check the Arkansas Circuit Clerk Directory (see Resources) to find the Circuit Clerk in your county. Request pleading forms to accompany the cover sheet.
File the annulment paperwork and pay the filing fee. Check the Arkansas Judiciary web page for current fee amounts (see Resources). Choose how you want the papers served to your partner. Options include delivery by sheriff, process server and postal mail. Using a sheriff or process server incurs additional costs. If you have retained an attorney, he will handle these matters. After filing, the court sets a date for a hearing to determine if your marriage qualifies for an annulment.