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.
This type of civil annulment is not to be confused with a religious annulment, which some people seek so they can remarry in their church or religion. A religious annulment can only be granted by your church or clergy and has no legal effect on marital status as far as the state is concerned.
There are limited reasons, or grounds, for getting an annulment in Nevada. You can get an annulment in Nevada for any of the following grounds:
In order to file for an annulment in Nevada, either you or your spouse must have lived in Nevada for at least six weeks prior to filing or you must have gotten married in Nevada. Filing a “complaint for annulment” is the first step to obtain an annulment in Nevada. In the complaint, you have to provide basic information about you, your spouse, your marriage, children you have together, and your grounds for an annulment. Once you file your complaint, you have to have another adult “personally serve,” or hand-deliver, a copy of the complaint and accompanying papers to your spouse. Whoever served your spouse has to fill out an Affidavit of Service, which you then must file with the court.
Your spouse can respond to your complaint by filing an answer and/or a counterclaim. If your spouse files an answer, the court will schedule a “case management conference” within 90 days. After the case management conference, the judge will schedule a hearing to determine whether an annulment is appropriate in your case. At a hearing, you and your spouse will have to testify, and you can give the judge other evidence to support your case.
If your spouse doesn’t file an answer, you can ask the clerk to issue a “default” against your spouse. This means that your spouse has failed to respond to your complaint. Once a default is issued, the judge can enter a Decree of 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.
The Clark County Nevada State Court website provides extensive self-help information about filing for an annulment, including complaint packets and an informational brochure.
For the text of the law governing annulment in Nevada, see Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 125.290-125.440.