Most people who decide to end their marriages get a divorce. For some couples, however, annulment may also be an option. Unlike a divorce, which dissolves a valid marriage, an annulment declares that the marriage was not valid or proper in the first place. This article explains when civil annulment is an option in Kansas. For more information on Kansas divorce law, see our Kansas Divorce and Family Law page.
Annulment vs. Divorce
An annulment and a divorce both end a marriage, and both procedures require a couple to divide their property and separate their affairs. However, once you get an annulment, you are treated legally as if you were never married. For example, you are allowed to declare yourself "single" rather than "divorced" when required to identify your status.
Many people choose an annulment rather than a divorce for religious reasons. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, allows someone whose first marriage was annulled to remarry in the Church, but does not allow a divorced person the same privilege.
Typically, couples annul their marriage after only a brief time together. However, some long-term marriages also end in annulment. If the couple has children, they are considered "legitimate," even if their parents annul their marriage.
(To learn more about the legal differences, see Annulment vs. Divorce.)
Annulment in Kansas
The law that governs annulments in Kansas is K.S.A. 60-1602. There are a handful of reasons a court may grant an annulment:
- The marriage is void for any reason. For example, if one spouse is already married to someone else or is not yet old enough to consent to marriage, or the spouses are so closely related to each other as to make the marriage incestuous, the marriage is legally void and may be annulled.
- The marriage is voidable because it was induced by fraud. For example, if one partner lied to the other about the ability to have children, and that was important to the other spouse's decision to marry, a court may annul the marriage.
- The marriage was induced by mistake of fact, lack of knowledge of a material fact, or any other reason justifying rescission of the marriage contract.