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From time to time we get questions about annulment for marriages that just don't work out. We thought we would provide some basic information about the process. First, you can go to the website www.kansaslegalservices.org for lots of information and free legal forms, and you may qualify for free legal services as well. You do not have to file for an annulment in the State of Kansas - you can file wherever you reside. Here are the grounds for annulment and some steps you can take to start the process:
Grounds For an Annulment
If you can show that your marriage was legally invalid from the beginning, you may be eligible to have your marriage annulled. Generally, your marriage may be annulled based on any of the following grounds:
incest- spouses are first cousins or closer in relation
bigamy - one spouse has a previous spouse they never divorced
Insanity - one spouse was incapable of understanding they were getting married
underage - one spouse was under 18 without permission to be married
fraud - one spouse lied about or hid something essential to the marriage
mistake - the spouses would not have married if they knew certain facts
impotence - the spouses didn’t know one spouse was incurably impotent
coercion - one spouse was forced into the marriage, or
sham marriage - the spouses didn’t mean to get married, such as a joke marriage or while intoxicated.
Some grounds for annulment have additional conditions:
If one spouse is insane, he or she must have been unable to understand they were getting married on the date of marriage; a marriage won’t be annulled because someone later went insane. A spouse is not necessarily unable to understand they are getting married just because they are under another person’s guardianship.
Spouses 16 or 17 can still have valid marriages that are not eligible to be annulled if they had parental or judicial permission. If a person is 15, they can only be married with the permission of a district court judge.
Fraud has to be about something important to annul a marriage. For example, Kansas courts have annulled marriages when a wife hides that her pregnancy at the time of marriage was by another man. On the other hand, courts have refused to annul marriages when one spouse has lied about previous sexual activity.
How Do I Get an Annulment?
In Kansas, you will need to file a “Petition for Annulment” in the district court for the county where either you or your spouse live. You do not have to have live in the county where you file for any particular period of time. Contact the clerk at the district court for your county to see if they have a sample petition for annulment that you can use. A link showing maps and contact information for all Kansas district courts is below.
The spouse filing for annulment is called the “petitioner,” and the other spouse is the “respondent.”
You will need to provide certain information in your petition, including the date of the marriage, and that at least one spouse lives in the county where you are filing. The petition should also state the legal ground(s) for annulment.
If you need temporary support for yourself or any children, you should also state that in your petition. You will need to have your spouse served with a copy of the petition after you file it. The clerk at your district court can help you with your options to have your spouse served, even if they live out of state.
You will have to convince the judge that your marriage should be annulled during a hearing in front of a judge. If the judge decides you have proven this, the judge will sign an order granting an annulment of your marriage. The judge can also sign an order granting your annulment if your spouse doesn’t dispute that the marriage should be annulled.
Effect of an Annulment
When an annulment is granted, it means you and your spouse were never legally married. Both spouses can say that there was never a marriage between them.
The judge can also divide the couple’s funds and property during an annulment and order that one spouse pay financial support to the other for a set period of time or until the other spouse remarries.
In Kansas, the children of an annulled marriage are still considered legitimate, meaning both parents have the duty to financially and emotionally support the children. A child is also considered legitimate if the child is born within 300 days of the annulment.