Annulment: The Britney Spears Story

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A few years ago, there was a big news story about how Britney Spears got married in Las Vegas and was then divorced 24 hours later. Because of the Britney Spears story, it is assumed that if you are married for a short enough time, you can get your marriage annulled without going through the entire divorce process.

Getting an annulment requires EITHER that the marriage is voidable, or that the marriage is void. What that means is that the time a couple is together does not allow an annulment, whether it is 24 hours or three months.

If a marriage is void, it is not legal, regardless of whether both spouses want the marriage. If a marriage is voidable, either spouse may void it if they wish and the marriage will have no legal effect.

What makes a marriage void?

A marriage is VOID if either party is legally married to someone else. This is called bigamy. A marriage is also void if either party is mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage contract. If there is incompetency, a friend or guardian can petition the court to have the marriage annulled.

A marriage is also void if the couple is related by blood, such as parent and child, siblings, grandparent, grandchild, or first cousins. The marriage is not void if the parties are not related by blood.

A marriage is VOIDABLE if both parties are under the age of consent, which is sixteen. W20-1-102. A marriage between minors is legal if the judge signs off OR the parents consent and there is a witness.
A marriage is also voidable if there is physical incapacity. An annulment can
only be commenced against the physically incapacitated party by the injured party within 2 years of the marriage. Any annulment decree may include provisions for child custody and property division, just like a divorce.

What if one party to the marriage seeks to annul? What do you do?

What if one party to the marriage seeks to annul? What do you do?

If the other side wants to annull the marriage, you can file a petition to affirm the marriage. If the judge grants your petition, then your marriage is declared valid and is binding on both parties. If the judge denies your petition to affirm the marriage then your marriage will be annulled.

Therefore, in order to get a marriage annulled, you need to prove that either the marriage is void or voidable, and then petition the court for the annulment. If you were married for 24 hours like Britney Spears, you still have to file for divorce in Wyoming.