Is it Difficult to Get an Annulment in Iowa?
Annulments are not as commonplace as you’d think, but that’s not because they are difficult to obtain as much as because they are specific in their usage. For those who qualify for an annulment, the process is not complicated. Once you’ve completed the petition and it’s verified that it meets the requirements and grounds for an annulment, a judge can rule on your annulment, provided you or your spouse have resided in Iowa for at least a year.
Grounds for an Annulment
While an annulment and a divorce ultimately end with the same result, they are entirely different processes. A divorce is the dissolution of a valid marriage, but an annulment is the invalidation of a marriage. If you believe you have entered a marriage under conditions that would make it invalid, then you could have grounds to file for an annulment.
According to Iowa Code, §598.28 through §598.32, you can petition for an annulment in Iowa on the following grounds:
- Incest: The person you married is a blood relative (first cousins and closer would apply)
- Impotence: The person you married is incapable of a sexual relationship (as a medical condition)
- Bigamy: One of the parties in the marriage already has a legal husband or wife still living at the time of the marriage
- Incompetence: The person you married is not competent to give legal consent to marriage and is under the guardianship of someone else to make their legal decisions
- Underage: One of the parties in the marriage is under the legal age to be married in Iowa.
How Do I Get an Annulment in Iowa?
To file for an annulment in Iowa, you would need to file a petition similar to the process for filing for divorce. Once you have completed the petition paperwork, you would need to file it with your county’s district court where you live. If you are not using an attorney, you can contact the district court in your county to request a sample petition for annulment to use as a rubric.
A Petition for Annulment
The spouse making the request is the petitioner, and the other party is the respondent. At least one of the two must have resided in Iowa for the last year. Your petition should be clearly and correctly completed with all the vital and necessary information to your request. You will need names, birth dates, addresses, and any children’s names and birth dates if relevant to the petition. The grounds for the petition should also be included in the document since an annulment is not possible without sufficient grounds. A hearing will be scheduled, and you will have the opportunity to support your request for annulment on the grounds you stated in your petition. The judge will make a determination regarding the validity of your petition and sign off on the order based on the ruling.
Effect of an Annulment
Once the judge grants your annulment, it will be as if your marriage never existed, so it would be accurate to say you’ve never been legally married since your current marriage has been invalidated. Your marriage can even be annulled if children are shared within the union as long as the grounds for the annulment are accurate. Any children from the invalidated marriage can still be deemed legitimate heirs to both parents as long as they are biological children of each party.
Thorough and Accurate Legal Assistance
If you need help filing for an annulment in Iowa, you can contact area attorney Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC, to help ensure your documents are in order. The Law Office of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC, is available for consultations. You can schedule today by call us at (515) 200-7571.