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Annulment of Marriage in Alaska

Annulment of Marriage in Alaska

Untying the Knot: Understanding the Annulment of Marriage in Alaska

While divorce is a familiar term in the realm of marital dissolution, annulment is a legal process that is less commonly understood. In Alaska, like in many other states, annulment serves as an alternative to divorce, offering a unique legal remedy for certain situations. This article delves into the specifics of the annulment process in Alaska, exploring the grounds for annulment, the legal implications, and the key differences from divorce.

Grounds for Annulment in Alaska:

1. Fraud or Misrepresentation:

– One common ground for annulment in Alaska is fraud or misrepresentation. If one spouse can prove that the marriage was based on deceit or lies that go to the heart of the marriage, it may be grounds for annulment.

2. Bigamy:

– A marriage may be annulled if one party was already married at the time of the marriage, making the subsequent marriage invalid.

3. Incest:

– Marriages between close blood relatives are generally considered void and can be annulled in Alaska.

4. Underage Marriage:

– If one or both parties were underage at the time of marriage and did not have the necessary legal consent, the marriage may be annulled.

5. Incapacity:

– If one spouse was mentally incapacitated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of marriage, it may be grounds for annulment.

Legal Implications of Annulment:

1. Voiding the Marriage:

– An annulment essentially declares the marriage void from the beginning. It is as though the marriage never legally existed.

2. Property Division:

– Unlike divorce, annulment does not involve the division of marital property since the marriage is considered to have never legally existed. However, issues related to property acquired during the purported marriage may still be addressed.

3. Spousal Support:

– Since annulment treats the marriage as if it never happened, there is typically no provision for spousal support. Each spouse retains their separate financial responsibilities.

4. Child Custody and Support:

– Matters related to child custody and support are addressed similarly to those in divorce cases, as the welfare of the children takes precedence over the legal status of the marriage.

Key Differences from Divorce:

1. Legal Status:

– The primary distinction between divorce and annulment lies in the legal status of the marriage. While a divorce legally terminates a valid marriage, an annulment declares the marriage null and void.

2. Timeframe:

– Annulments are typically sought early in the marriage, often shortly after the wedding, whereas divorce can be pursued at any time during the marriage.

3. Stigma:

– Societal perceptions of annulment and divorce can differ. Annulment is sometimes associated with the idea that the marriage was never valid, potentially carrying less stigma than divorce.


The annulment of marriage in Alaska offers a legal remedy for specific situations where the validity of the marriage is called into question. Understanding the grounds for annulment, its legal implications, and the differences from divorce is crucial for individuals navigating the complex terrain of marital dissolution. Whether seeking an annulment or considering other options, consulting with legal professionals familiar with Alaska’s family law can provide valuable guidance through the process of untying the knot.


Frequently Asked Questions about Annulment of Marriage in Alaska

What is an annulment of marriage in Alaska?

An annulment of marriage is a popular practice across the United States, similar to a divorce. The different is that whereas a divorce simply ends a marriage, declaring usually that the married couple has irreconcilable differences which their union can no longer survive, an annulment will declare that a marriage was never valid in the first place.

Annulment as a practice dates back for more than a thousand years of Christian history, to when the Catholic Church banned divorce so that the only way to end a marriage was by declaring it void. Today, annulment remains popular because it provides a cheaper and faster alternative to divorce for those couples who are eligible.

All that said, there is formally no such thing as annulment of marriage in Alaska. There’s simply no statute allowing anything called “annulment” in state law. Yet as long as there are marriages, there will be invalid ones, so practically speaking, a couple can get an annulment of marriage in Alaska, they just can’t technically call it that.

How do you qualify for an annulment of marriage in Alaska?

Only a small percentage of married couples will ever be eligible to apply for an annulment of marriage in Alaska since, thankfully, most marriages in the state are valid. Here are the various legitimate causes for an annulment of marriage in Alaska:

• Bigamy, which can just mean that one spouse has not been formally divorced from their previous spouse yet;

• Incest, which is defined as relations between two individuals who are more closely related to each other than third cousins, so that even second cousin marriage is unlawful;

• Underage, although an individual can be married at sixteen if they have their parent’s consent;

• Unsound mind, whether this means one spouse was suffering from a mental illness or from a state of intoxication;

• Coercion, which simply means that one person cannot threaten or force another one to marry them;

• Fraud, such as lying about your identity;

• Failure to have sexual relations or impotence.

If the married spouses continued to live together after reaching the age of consent, having their mental soundness return, learning of their spouse’s fraud, or having sexual relations, then the marriage is still considered valid and cannot end in an annulment of marriage in Alaska.

How will I file for an annulment of marriage in Alaska?

Since the state still does not consider there to be such a thing as an annulment of marriage in Alaska, the process for filing for an annulment is far from formalized. In fact, there aren’t even any forms or petitions which you can use to get an annulment of marriage in Alaska. Instead, you will essentially be forced to hire a family lawyer to petition the court for you.