Perhaps you got married at a chapel on the Vegas Strip and aren't sure of the legality of it all. Maybe the bloom has just plain worn off your Reno romance, and you are looking at the legal options for ending your marriage. Or maybe you’re wondering if your marriage was legal to begin with. States generally have strict rules that cover who can get married and how marriages can be dissolved. This is a brief summary of annulment and prohibited marriages in the Silver State.
Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws
State prohibited marriage laws regulate the institution of marriage, which includes annulment and certain restrictions on who may get married. As with many states, Nevada once had a statewide ban on same-sex marriage. Nevada's state ban had a complicated history. Lawsuits in district courts were poised to support the ban, but the State Attorney General refused to defend the law, saying it would likely be struck down in federal appeals court. Not only did the AG prove to be correct, but a subsequent 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, ultimately ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage were generally unconstitutional since they violated the Equal Protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Annulment is the legal process of declaring a marriage invalid, which is different than a divorce. An annulment may be sought in Nevada if there is a previously un-dissolved marriage or for other reasons. Nevada law states that grounds for annulment include being underage, legally insane, physically incapable of consummating the marriage, and marriage by force or fraud. Nevada marriage laws also ban marriage between ancestors or descendants, brother and sister, aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, and first cousins.
Marriage Laws in Nevada
The following chart highlights the main provisions of Nevada's annulment and prohibited marriage laws. See FindLaw's Marriage Law Overview section for additional articles and resources.
|Code Sections||125.290 to 350, 410; 122.020|
|Grounds for Annulment||Underage; lack of understanding to consent; insanity; fraud; where grounds to void the contract in equity|
|Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment||Underage: Within 1 yr. after 18; Fraud: May not annul if after discovery parties voluntarily cohabit; insanity: may not annul if freely cohabit after restored to sound mind|
|Legitimacy of Children||Issue of all marriages deemed null are legitimate|
|Prohibited Marriages||Previous marriage undissolved; not nearer in kin than second cousins; common law marriages|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Related Resources for Nevada Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws
Ending a marriage can be a difficult decision, especially if you are wondering if your marriage was legal to begin with. You can find more introductory information about this topic by visiting FindLaw’s sections on annulment and divorce. If you would like legal assistance with your case, you can contact an experienced Nevada divorce attorney in your area to schedule a consultation.
Related Resources for Nevada Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws:
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