People enter into marriage with the best of intentions: to love and support each other for life. The state of Indiana recognizes that fraud or other conditions can invalidate a marriage entered into with good faith. Indiana residents who meet certain requirements can void their union with a marriage annulment. An annulment means that the marriage never existed and will be erased from the public record. As an Indiana resident, you can start life anew as a never-married person by seeking an annulment if you:
Reside in Indiana or be stationed at a military installation in Indiana. You must live in the state for at least six months prior to petitioning for an annulment.
Create distance from spouse
Move out of your residence if you are currently living with your spouse. Indiana courts will not allow a marriage annulment if you continue to live with your spouse.
Specify your grounds
Determine your grounds for annulment. Indiana law allows marriage annulments when one of the parties was not of legal age (18, without parental consent) or if one of the spouses was not mentally competent at the time of the marriage. In addition, Indiana grants an annulment when one of the parties engaged in fraud relating to the marriage. Incestuous marriages may also be annulled.
Document your claims for your Indiana annulment. If you or your spouse were underage, get a copy of the relevant birth certificate from the Indiana State Department of Health. For mental incompetence claims, obtain medical or psychological records. In cases of fraud, find proof of that fraud. For example, if your spouse was not yet legally divorced from a former spouse, get a statement to that effect.
File a petition
File a petition for Dissolution of Marriage in an Indiana family court to annul your marriage. Annulment cases in Indiana are usually heard in a circuit or superior court, depending on your jurisdiction. The Indiana government website has a search-by-county function. Check the site to find the proper court in your county. Some counties have made petitions available online, allowing you to file the petition for annulment yourself. In other counties, you will need to hire a lawyer to handle the filing.
Wait for finalization
Wait at least 60 days after the initial filing of your marriage annulment petition for your case to be final. Indiana law requires this waiting period. Be aware that the court's schedule will affect when your final hearing occurs. A delay can result if your former spouse contests your annulment petition. However, if you can prove the grounds, the petition will go through despite the objection (just like a divorce petition). When your annulment is final, your marriage will no longer exist and you will be free to remarry.
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- Children born into a marriage that is annulled are considered legitimate by the state of Indiana. Also, as with divorce, a woman may request her name be changed back to her maiden name as part of the annulment petition.
- Be completely truthful during all stages of the annulment process. Deception will cause delays at best and could result in a perjury charge.
Monika Weise has been a writer of both fiction and nonfiction since 1988. Her diverse experience includes publishing fiction in "Secrets" magazine, writing plays for the Live Wires acting group and creating manuals for area businesses. Weise is working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.