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Phoenix AZ Family Law Blog

Monday, August 31, 2015

UPDATE: Arizona Judge Refuses to Issue Annulment in High-Profile WNBA Marital Dissolution Case

What are some reasons why a judge might deny an annulment? 

As we reported in an earlier blog post, WNBA powerhouses Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson were seeking to end their one-month marriage after a tumultuous start – and had planned to seek an annulment under Arizona law. As a bit of review, an annulment is a legal recognition that a “marriage” did not actually exist in the first place, and is distinguishable from a divorce based on this over-arching factor. Typically, annulments are issued if one party was underage at the time of the union, the parties were related, or there was an element of coercion or duress.

 However, in this case, the parties have experienced somewhat of a setback as an Arizona judge has opted to deny the annulment request – which was filed by Brittney Griner. Simply put, the court found no basis for an annulment under Arizona law, which means the spouses will be required to submit to the rigors of divorce court after all. 

Annulment vs. Divorce

An annulment will be denied if the court finds that a valid marriage existed at the outset. In other words, so long as the parties were of legal age, were not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, did not have a mental impairment, and were not forced into the arrangement, an annulment will generally not be possible. 

Oftentimes, parties may attempt to seek an annulment in order to avoid the consequences of a full-blow divorce action. For instance, Arizona divorce law upholds the notion of spousal support, and may require one party to pay support to the other in a divorce (as opposed to an annulment).

If you are considering divorce or annulment and would like to discuss your options with a highly qualified attorney in Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding areas, please do not hesitate to contact Cohen Family Law today: 602-714-8898. 


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