Sometimes, couples get married and realize it was a mistake. In this situation, spouses often assume that they must get a divorce. This, however, isn’t always the case. Some couples are eligible for an annulment in Oklahoma, although the grounds for an annulment are more limited than those for a divorce.
Although the ending of any marriage is a difficult time for any couple, annulments have real benefits over divorce for those who wish to get one. Like divorce, though, Oklahoma has rules on the grounds for annulment, and spouses must have at least one of these proper grounds in order for a court to grant an annulment.
The Advantages of an Annulment Over a Divorce
Divorces are often messy, with the two spouses fighting over terms. This isn’t the case with annulments, though. While a divorce states that there was a marriage and it is now dissolved, an annulment makes it as though the marriage never happened in the first place. This holds many benefits for couples.
The first is that there is no fighting over the terms of an annulment. If the courts grant an annulment, the couple will continue life just as they had before the marriage. There is no division of property, and, likewise, no division of debt.
In the case that there was a prenuptial agreement, this is also voided through an annulment, as these documents apply only to divorces. Lastly, should one of the spouses wish to remarry soon after the annulment, this is a possibility. In a divorce, both spouses must wait until the divorce is finalized before remarrying. This can take much longer, particularly when a divorce goes through litigation.
Annulments do hold many benefits over a traditional divorce. However, like divorce, couples must ensure they have proper grounds for an annulment before petitioning the court to grant one.
Grounds for Annulment in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, grounds for an annulment fall into one of two categories. The first is void marriages, or marriages never considered legal. The second is voidable marriages, which means the marriage was legal, but the annulment will declare the marriage void.
Currently, there are only two categories for void marriages in Oklahoma. Those are incestuous marriages, or marriages that include bigamy or polygamy. A marriage that falls into one of these two categories is not considered legal in Oklahoma. No conduct on the part of the spouses, such as living together, can make these marriages legal.
While there are only two grounds for declaring a marriage void in Oklahoma, voidable marriages have a number of grounds for annulment. These include:
● One or both spouses are under the age of 18;
● One spouse lacked the mental capacity to consent to the marriage;
● One spouse is physically unable to consummate the marriage;
● One spouse has had an incurable mental illness for at least five years;
● Consent to the marriage was obtained by duress, coercion, or fraud; and
● One spouse entered into the marriage within six months of obtaining a divorce for another marriage.
Unlike void marriages, voidable marriages in Oklahoma are no longer eligible for annulment if they met one of the conditions, but the spouses continued to live together after that condition is discovered or cured.
For example, if a marriage occurred between a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old, the state may deem it voidable if the couple chooses to get an annulment. If the couple continued living together after the younger spouse turned 18, though, the marriage is no longer eligible for an annulment.
Likewise, if the marriage occurred six months after one spouse finalized a divorce from another marriage, the marriage is no longer voidable if the six-month waiting period passes and the couple continues to live together.
An Oklahoma Family Lawyer Can Help Couples Obtain an Annulment
Annulments operate much differently than a divorce. However, the couple will still need to attend a legal hearing and obtain a court order to void the marriage. A family lawyer in Oklahoma can help ensure the couple is successful in their request for an annulment.
If you are married and think an annulment is right for you, contact Banks, Gillett, Gillett, PLLC at (405) 607-4800. We can represent you in court and argue the voidable grounds for an annulment. If an annulment is not granted, we can also guide you through the next step of divorce proceedings. Call today for your free consultation to learn more about which option will work for you.