A divorce is the most common legal proceeding for ending a marriage. But in certain cases, a court will grant an annulment. An annulment is a legal recognition that the marriage was void. It differs from a divorce because a divorce proceeding dissolves a marriage that was valid before the law. Nebraska has specific statutory guidelines detailing when courts can grant an annulment.
Determine the grounds for annulments that apply in your case. In Nebraska an annulment will be granted if any of the following are proved: the marriage between the parties is prohibited by law; either party was impotent at the time of marriage; either party had a spouse who was alive at the time of marriage; either party was mentally ill at the time of marriage; or the marriage was procured by fraud. Marriages involving incest and bigamy are also void.
Draft the summons and the petition. The summons gives notice of the case, and the petition sets out the facts supporting the grounds for the annulment. Complete a vital-statistics certificate. The certificate must be filed with the complaint. The court will issue the final decree only after you submit all of the requested information.
File the summons, complaint and required papers with the county clerk at the district court nearest your home. The required papers include confidential party information and Social Security information forms. Pay the filing fees.
Serve the papers on your spouse. Your spouse in entitled to notice that there is a case pending. If your case is uncontested, your spouse can sign an affidavit before a notary, stating that he received the papers and does not wish to contest the case. This is called a voluntary appearance. You can file a praecipe for summons requesting that the court issue a summons, which will be served on your spouse by the sheriff.
Request a hearing date and prepare your case. If the case is uncontested, the hearing will simply involve a recitation of the facts in the complaint. If your spouse presents a defense, the court will hold a trial to determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint constitute grounds for annulment. For a contested case, you must gather witnesses and any other evidence that is available to you.