The ongoing court battle between reality star Kim Kardashian and NBA ball player Kris Humphries should serve as a reminder to Morris County readers that divorce is hardly ever easy. To prove his contention that the couple's brief marriage was based on fraud, attorneys representing Humphries recently requested detailed records of Kardashian's reality shows and attempted to subpoena her current boyfriend, Kanye West.
New Jersey Kardashian fans may remember that the couple was married in the summer of 2011 in a televised ceremony. The relationship ended a scant 72 days later when Kardashian filed for divorce. Humphries later claimed the marriage was based on fraud and requested an annulment, which may require a full two-week trial. The judge in the case believes the issues can be resolved by May 2013.
While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably by the general public, there are distinct differences between a divorce and an annulment. A divorce is the legal dissolution of a valid marriage that involves property division, the enforcement of prenuptial agreements, spousal support and other relevant legal issues.
An annulment, on the other hand, is a retroactive legal ruling that states the marriage was never valid. An annulment can void a person's rights to assets acquired during the marriage because, in the eyes of the law, the marriage never occurred. For example, if Humphries had used his money to purchase a home during his marriage to Kardashian, an annulment would cancel any claim Kardashian had on it as his legal spouse.
In New Jersey, grounds for an annulment include misrepresentation, fraud, non-consummation, bigamy, nonage, duress, incest and non-consent. A court is more likely to grant an annulment if there are relatively few debts or assets and no children, but the process can be as time-consuming and stressful as a divorce, particularly if one party is contesting the invalidity of the marriage.
It is the responsibility of the petitioner to produce evidence supporting any request for an annulment. People seeking annulments are therefore likely to need legal advice to assist them in obtaining the required evidence, submitting the right documents and arguing the case to family court judges.
Source: NJ.com, "Kardashian divorce unlikely to be final this year," Associated Press, Aug. 15, 2012