Uncontested Annulment … Not So Fast

This blog generally bypasses the celebrity divorce wars for a variety of reasons. But, occasionally, celebrity breakups spotlight significant legal issues worth making an exception for.

One such drama focuses on a celebrity marriage that hit the skids after only seventy-two days (or just over two months). Not a record but, any way you slice it, a pretty short marriage.

And because of the short duration of the marriage, the couple would prefer an annulment to a divorce. Totally understandable.

But doable? That’s a different story.

Annulment laws vary from state to state. Further, annulment laws may actually be more arcane and idiosyncratic than divorce laws.

Most people equate annulment with brevity of a marriage. And they often do correlate highly.

But, at least in some states, mere brevity of a marriage is far from the only requirement to qualify for annulment rather than divorce.

Ironically, even in “no fault divorce” states such as Florida, annulment must have grounds – and they generally entail fault.

In some states, like Florida, depending upon the nature of the grounds relied upon, on the legal path toward annulment, a marriage may be classified as void or voidable – and the criteria to qualify for annulment vary depending upon whether the marriage is void or voidable.

In some states, like Florida, having consummated the marriage will generally operate to bar an annulment.

Now, the media is widely reporting that both of the celebrity couple are on the same page as far as wanting an annulment.

With each wanting the other to admit to having committed a certain fraud that they have in mind. Not surprisingly, each denies having themself committed a fraud .

The hoopla implies that annulment is attainable once the couple decide which of them will admit to the specific alleged frauds that are on the table in their negotiations.

Perhaps that is so under the state law that will apply, and given their celebrity status. But, in many states, the couple’s agreement is not necessarily enough.

While fraud may well be a basis upon which to obtain an annulment, the nature and quality of the fraud also factors into the mix. This can impact whether the marriage is merely voidable or void and whether consummation operates as a bar to annulment.

Bottom line being, don’t be misled by the celebrity breakup drama. In many states, in the vast majority of cases, qualifying for annulment is no easy matter – even where the couple are in total agreement.

Read more in this New York Post article: Both Kim and Kris willing to annul marriage — if other admits fraud: report and this Yahoo news article: Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries ‘in deadlock over annulment’.