The Basics of Annulment in New Mexico

Wondering if you can get an annulment? Learn about the grounds for an annulment and how to get one in New Mexico.

What is an annulment and why would someone want one?

Like a divorce, an annulment is a court procedure that dissolves, or ends, a marriage. An annulment is different from a divorce in that an annulment treats the marriage like it never happened. Some people still think divorce carries a stigma, so they would rather have their marriage annulled than get a divorce. A "civil annulment," which is discussed here, should not be confused with a "religious annulment," which can only be granted by a church or clergy and has no legal effect on your marital status as far as the state is concerned.

What are the grounds for an annulment in New Mexico?

There are limited reasons, or grounds, for getting an annulment in New Mexico. The grounds for annulment in New Mexico are:

  • you or your spouse was under age 16 at the time you married
  • you or your spouse was under age 18 at the time you married and did not have consent to marry from a parent or guardian
  • the marriage was illegal because you and your spouse are too closely related, or
  • bigamy, which means that you or your spouse was married to someone else at the time of your marriage.

How do I get an annulment in New Mexico?

In order to obtain an annulment in New Mexico, you or your spouse must be a resident of New Mexico for at least six months. You have to file a petition for annulment in the district court in the county where you or your spouse lives. In your petition, you have to provide information about yourself, your spouse, your children, your marriage, and your grounds for an annulment.

After filing your petition, you will have to have your spouse “served” with the petition. This means that an adult, other than you, has to hand-deliver the petition to your spouse. Whoever serves your spouse has to fill out an Affidavit of Service, which you must then file with the court.

What is the effect of an annulment?

Once the judge issues an annulment, your marriage is immediately considered void, as if you were never married.

If you and your spouse had children together, your children are still considered “legitimate” after an annulment. This means that the father continues to be the father unless it’s proven that someone else is the father.

In an annulment proceeding in New Mexico, the judge can make decisions about child custody and child support. If you and your spouse own property together, the court can distribute it the same way it would for a divorce.

Resources

The full text of the law governing annulments in New Mexico can be found at NM Stat. Ann. § 40-1-9.

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