Getting married is expensive. But how about if you want to get unmarried? Deciding to go on separate ways with your spouse would cost you a considerable amount of money. It could be in the hundreds or thousands, but some separations could cost up to the millions. For instance, high-profile divorces such as Mel Gibson’s separation from his wife in 2011 reached up to $425 million.
If you are still mulling about leaving your spouse, know that there are two ways of separation. One is divorce which aims to dissolve a valid marriage. It could mean that you and your partner are both into it at the start, but due to differences and other reasons decided to call it quits.
An annulment, on the other hand, renders the marriage invalid. This legal procedure would make it appear that you and your partner have never been married in the first place.
As for which is costlier, an annulment generally costs more than a divorce. With that said, just how much does it cost to get a marriage annulled?
Average Annulment Cost
The average annulment cost runs about $500 to $5,000 or more. The exact cost would depend on the agreement between you and your partner. For instance, the price would be lower if both of you would sign a joint petition for annulment than if you’re alone in filing it and your spouse is hard to find. The total expense would also be affected by your location as each state has varying regulations related to the legal procedure.
Another form of annulling your marriage which is related to religion is an ecclesiastic annulment. This method may cost $200 to $1,000. Also, you would spend more if you or your spouse appeals against an unfavorable decision.
The annulment cost may be significantly reduced by legal service agencies that promise faster and hassle-free processing of your papers. Of course, you should not trust every offer as some of them may charge unexpected fees.
Exactly how much does it cost to get a marriage annulled? To acquire an exact quote, you should ask the courts or your legal service provider. Upon inquiry, make sure that they include in their answers all the fees that the processing would entail.
We include here some sample costs to give you an idea of just how much annulment prices vary.
For instance, the San Francisco Superior Court of California charges an initial fee of $450 for the filing of an annulment petition (including the joint petition). Another $450 is charged by the court if you or your spouse decides to file a response to the said petition.
For other fees related to the family law, you could refer to the civil fee schedule of the said court.
On the other hand, the Molamphy Law Office in Kansas charges $500 for processing a marriage annulment of couples who have no children. Additional costs charged by the law firm includes:
- Filing Fee $197
- Solid Growth Workshop $60 (charged to petitioners with minor children)
Other services that you may opt to avail are:
- QDRO Retirement Division $600 (for division of each retirement plan)
- Service by Publication $250
- Special Process Server $50
Lastly, the Nevada Divorce and Document Services charges a fee of $500 for the processing of annulment. The cost would be $100 higher or $600 in total if the petition is signed by only one party. The legal service provider did not include prices of the filing fees and other expenses.
To get an overall price that includes the different court and paper processing fees, you could visit their website or reach them through the phone. The office also offers consultation with an attorney.
Grounds for Annulment
An annulment is a legal process that would make it appear as if your marriage was never valid from the start. To be able to win the case, you have to prove to the court that your spouse was never worth marrying. Some of the grounds that would allow you to push through with the processing include:
- Being underage at the time of marriage
- Inability of one or both to give consent during the marital union due to insanity or incapacitating substances like alcohol and drugs
The said grounds, though, are not that straightforward. Using one of the said reasons to win an annulment case would sometimes turn out to be insufficient in invalidating the marriage.
For instance, filing an annulment on the grounds of insanity would only be a strong case if your spouse is incurably ill. If otherwise, he/she has periods when his/her mind is sound and you continued to cohabitate as a couple, the grounds of mental illness would be waived regardless of your spouse getting sick again.
Fraud as a ground for annulment would also be waived by your actions, specifically if you continued to live with your spouse even after discovering the fraud. Such act would be interpreted by the court as a ratification of the marriage on your part and thus would not help approve your petition.
The annulment process would also be more difficult if the other party chooses to protest against your petition. An appeal would mean longer court time, and thus more expenses because of the legal fees adding up.
Considerations before Filing for Annulment
How much does it cost to get a marriage annulled? Quite expensive. And in addition to considering the price of annulment, you should also be aware of the pros and cons of this legal procedure before you decide to file one.
One of the advantages of filing an annulment instead of a divorce is that the law would treat your marriage invalid and as if it never existed if you win the case. This benefit is appealing to those who are afraid of the stigma usually associated with divorce.
Also, as the grounds for annulment are normally discovered early in the marriage, there would be little issues when it comes to the division of property between you and your spouse. Furthermore, if you have children, your kids would not be considered by the law as illegitimate.
As for the disadvantages, filing an annulment could be a hassle because you would have to prove the grounds for the separation. Proving a ground would require investigation, discovery, and a court trial which would be both time-consuming and expensive. You could even end up paying for damages if you are not successful with the case.
Also, state laws have placed a time limit on annulment, meaning you would only be able to file a petition within a period. If you don’t decide fast, the window for filing may have already closed.
The separation of couples, no matter what legal procedure they use, would never be easy. So if it’s still possible, try to make it up for each other and rebuild the relationship. Of course, being able to do so would always be on a case-to-case basis.