Annulment vs. Divorce in Utah

Annulments and divorces end marriages in Utah. While the result is similar, important differences separate these options.

An annulment voids your marriage based on problems that existed before you said, “I do.” A divorce ends a valid union based on issues that happened after your wedding day. 

Annulment vs. divorce in Utah: What’s the difference?

Understanding the difference between an annulment and a divorce is critical. The option that seems just right to you may be unavailable due to the specifics of your marriage. 

Six important items separate an annulment and a divorce. Read on to learn more about the differences between the two forms of separation.

1. Legality 

An annulment cancels your marriage as though it never happened in the first place. Essentially, this legal tool suggests that the officials who approved your union made a terrible mistake. 

A divorce ends your marriage. This tool suggests that two people entered a union willingly and legally, but something went wrong later. 

2. Grounds 

Few grounds for annulment exist in Utah. They exist the following:

  • Bigamy: One person was legally married to someone else. For example, if your partner married you while another divorce was pending, bigamy applies. 
  • Youth: One person was younger than 18 when the wedding occurred, and they didn’t have consent from a parent, guardian, or the court first. 
  • Incest: The marriage was between two close relatives (like siblings).

People in Utah can apply for divorce while citing irreconcilable differences. Essentially, you can tell the court that your marriage is broken and can’t be fixed. That’s enough to start the process. 

Other grounds for divorce in Utah include the following:

  • Impotence 
  • Adultery 
  • Willful desertion lasting more than one year
  • Willful neglect to provide for common necessities 
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Felony conviction 
  • Cruel treatment causing bodily injury 
  • Incurable insanity 
  • Separate residences lasting three consecutive years

Many factors, or grounds, could lead to divorce, but few could lead to annulment.

3. DIY potential 

If you plan to get divorced, Utah state courts provide plenty of information, including a roadmap, to guide you through the divorce process. You can find most of the forms you need online, download them, and get started in minutes. 

Getting an annulment is much more difficult. Utah state courts don’t make the document you need (Complaint for Annulment) available online. The organization’s website simply says that no forms are available. 

You will need outside help to pursue a Utah annulment. You don’t always need support to work through a divorce in Utah. 

4. Initial paperwork 

To start a divorce in Utah, you must fill out a Petition for Divorce. You can visit our page, Complete List of Utah Divorce Forms with Links, for guidance.

To start an annulment in Utah, you’ll complete a Complaint for Annulment form. This document is not available on the Utah State Courts website. 

5. Time frame 

A Utah divorce takes at least 30 days. This includes a mandatory waiting period put in place to help prevent people from making rash decisions. If you don’t collaborate with your spouse, however, your divorce process will take much longer than 30 days. A complicated divorce can take months to finish. 

An annulment typically moves much faster. A judge will review your documents, hold a hearing, and rule on your case. 

6. Status 

At the end of the Utah divorce process, you will be a divorced person. You were once married, and now you are not. You must identify this status on tax forms, passport applications, and other formal documents. 

At the end of the Utah annulment process, you will be a single person. Legally, you were never married. You can mark your status as single on every form you fill out. 

Pros and cons of divorce in Utah

A divorce is a multipurpose tool that ends a union you no longer want to be part of. Understanding the risks and benefits of this option can help you determine if it’s right for you. 

Divorce benefits include the following:

  • Ease: Multiple paths to divorce exist, including a no-fault option. You don’t have to prove anything to end your union in Utah. Filing paperwork is enough to get started.
  • Success: You can get a Utah divorce even if your partner doesn’t want one. A judge won’t invalidate your request, even if you go to court. You could ask for an annulment and have the request denied. 
  • Process: The state of Utah publishes plenty of information to help you move through a divorce on your own. You can also move through the process with help from an online divorce platform like Hello Divorce
  • Collaboration: You can work with your partner during your divorce and split your estate equally. The divorce process forces you to work together. This could set the foundation for your future as co-parents.

Divorce drawbacks include the following:

  • Stigma: Some people are uncomfortable with the suggestion of fault or guilt that comes with divorce. 
  • Cost: A divorce can be expensive, especially if you can’t work with your partner. 
  • Time: Divorces can have long time frames, especially if you must go to court to complete the process. 

Pros and cons of annulment in Utah

An annulment is a legal tool designed for a specific purpose. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks can help you determine if it’s right for you. 

Annulment benefits include the following:

  • Speed: An annulment usually moves much faster than a divorce. 
  • Status: Some religious traditions frown on divorce. An annulment could be a better option if you’re a member of one of these communities. 
  • Cost: Since an annulment moves faster than a divorce, it’s typically less expensive. 
  • Correction: An annulment erases a marriage you entered mistakenly. 

Annulment drawbacks include the following:

  • Somewhat prohibited: It’s much harder to get an annulment than a divorce. 
  • Difficulty: Utah officials don’t make the form you need readily available, and little information about the process is available online. You may need help.
  • Status: An annulment voids your union as though it never happened. Some people find it hard to cope with this fact. 

What’s right for you?

Divorce and annulment are different, and one isn’t always better than another. The version that’s best for you depends on unique circumstances that only you understand and manage.  

At Hello Divorce, we offer more than just an online platform for divorce. We also offer a host of other services that may help if your intent is to end your marriage. We welcome you to schedule a free 15-minute phone call with one of our account coordinators to discuss annulment, divorce, or other related issues on your mind.


Annulment. Utah State Courts. 
Divorce. Utah State Courts. 
Utah Code, Title 30, Chapter 3, Section 1. (1997). Utah State Legislature.
Roadmap for Divorce Cases. Utah State Courts.


Divorce Specialists
After spending years in toxic and broken family law courts, and seeing that no one wins when “lawyer up,” we knew there was an opportunity to do and be better. We created Hello Divorce to the divorce process easier, affordable, and completely online. Our guiding principles are to make sure both spouses feel heard, supported, and set up for success as they move into their next chapter in life.