How do I Get an Annulment in Indiana?
By Wayne Thomas
Divorces effectively sever the legal relationship between a couple, thus Indiana courts have the authority to fairly divide a couple's property, taking into account each spouse's present economic circumstances as well as contributions made during the marriage. However, the state also recognizes annulments, which are used to erase a marriage and restore each party to a position as if the legal relationship never existed. Instead of dividing the couple's property, the court will determine ownership based on which spouse acquired the asset.
To file for an annulment in Indiana, either you or your spouse must be currently living in the state. If residency is due to active military, the residency period is six months. An annulment action may be filed in the county where either spouse lives, but if the resident spouse is active military, he or she must have lived in the county for the previous three months.
You may obtain an annulment in Indiana if your marriage is illegal under state law. This is known as a "void" marriage and would apply if one spouse was under the age of 18 when married, one spouse was already married at the time of marriage, or the spouses are more closely related than second cousins. If you were married in Indiana, state law provides that annulments on these grounds do not require a lengthy trial. You would be required to provide the appropriate supporting documentation, such as a birth or marriage certificate, to the court clerk when you file you paperwork requesting the annulment.
Indiana also recognizes annulments based on a voidable marriage. In contrast to void marriages, a voidable marriage means that the relationship is considered valid, but may be rescinded at the option of one party. If one spouse was mentally incompetent at the time of marriage, or the marriage was a product of fraud, it is considered voidable. However, a spouse alleging fraud must have left the home as soon as the fraud is discovered. Voidable grounds can be highly fact-sensitive, and require a legal proceeding.
File for Annulment
Requesting an annulment follows the same procedure as requesting a divorce under Indiana law. You must file a written petition for the dissolution, indicating the reason for the annulment and including the appropriate residency information. Once filed, you must provide your spouse with copies of the document and allow him a chance to respond in writing. The matter will then proceed to a hearing in front of a judge. Unlike divorce, the Indiana courts do not offer fill-in-the-blank forms to be used in annulment proceedings. For that reason, many couples seek the assistance of an attorney or legal document provider.
Wayne Thomas earned his J.D. from Penn State University and has been practicing law since 2008. He has experience writing about environmental topics, music and health, as well as legal issues. Since 2011, Thomas has also served as a contributing editor for the "Vermont Environmental Monitor."