Annulment in New Hampshire

Many couples seek to divorce; however, sometimes a couple may wish to annul the union instead of getting a divorce. An annulment means that the marriage will be dissolved as if it never existed. In years gone by, many couples sought an annulment rather than a divorce due to religious beliefs. However, in today’s society, the request for an annulment is much less prevalent. The rules for eligibility are quite stringent and must be met in order to qualify for an annulment. Even if the couple meets the eligibility requirements an annulment isn’t always granted. The court will review the information provided and make a ruling. If you are considering an annulment it is important to get help from an experienced New Hampshire family law attorney. Your lawyer will review the facts of your case to help you determine the steps to take to dissolve your marriage.

Reasons for Annulment

An annulment may only be granted for a specific reason (cause). In New Hampshire the court allows an annulment petition for cause based on only these reasons:

  • Incest
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Mental incapacity
  • Under age marriage
  • Physical disability

If the reason for wanting an annulment does not fit into these criteria, it is not eligible for an annulment. When a marriage is not eligible for annulment it must be dissolved through the standard divorce procedure.

Annulment or Divorce

When a couple no longer wishes to be married they may seek either an annulment or a divorce. An annulment is most often used when a couple has not been married long. Once a couple has been married for a length of time they will likely need to get a divorce rather than an annulment. While both options offer a legal way to dissolve the marriage, an annulment is only granted for a very small portion of cases that qualify. The usual route that couples take is a divorce. When couples have assets and children, this complicates the situation and must be handled through a divorce. An annulment does not address these issues and is designed strictly for dissolving a short marriage that meets the criteria.

Going Through an Annulment

The process for an annulment is similar to that necessary for a divorce. The first step is to file paperwork with the court requesting an annulment. Before filling this out and submitting it you should speak to a New Hampshire divorce attorney for assistance. You must first meet the criteria necessary for an annulment. If you meet these criteria you can submit it to the court. You will have a hearing regarding the annulment. Both parties must attend the hearing. Your attorney will represent you during this proceeding and will brief you about what to expect before you attend. Based on the information provided in the hearing the judge will determine whether or not an annulment will be granted. The process for an annulment is generally shorter than for a divorce since the couple does not need to determine settlement terms. If an annulment is not granted, the couple will need to proceed with a divorce in the regular manner.