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Why getting an annulment is not as easy as you might believe

As much as we love them, popular television shows and films are responsible for perpetuating a considerable number of legal myths. While this is especially true in the area of criminal law, it also holds true in other areas like employment law, bankruptcy law and even family law.

For instance, thanks to romantic comedies, sitcoms and soap operas, many people may mistakenly believe that it's relatively easy or somehow preferable to secure an annulment. 

In order to understand just how untrue this really is, you must first understand the difference between a divorce and an annulment.  

In general, a divorce occurs when a person or couple seeks to terminate a marriage that is considered legally valid in the eyes of the law. An annulment, on the other hand, is when a person or couple seeks to terminate a marriage on the grounds that it was never valid and never existed in the first place.    

What it's important to understand about annulments, particularly here in Arkansas, is that they may only be secured if incredibly specific grounds are present.

Indeed, state law dictates that a petition to have a marriage annulled may only be filed with the circuit court when it can be demonstrated that one or both of the spouses was incapable of consenting to the union owing to one of the following factors:    

  • One or both were too young to get married
  • One or both were physically incapable of getting married (i.e., consummating the marriage).
  • One or both was mentally incapable of comprehending and consenting to the marriage
  • One party was essentially forced to enter the marriage because of fraud or force

In the event none of these grounds are present, it's important for people to understand that they still have other effective avenues for ending their marriage, including uncontested divorce and traditional contested divorce.

To learn more about any of these options, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.  

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