Divorce And Annulments: Know The Big Differences


You can only part ways legally if you divorce. However, some situations call for an annulment. To understand how divorce and annulments are different, read below so that you can take the right action when it's time to end your relationship.

Divorce: For the Legally Married

No one says you have to be divorced after you split up, but almost everyone takes the steps necessary to part ways. As long as you are married, you cannot legally remarry and you also could end up financially responsible for some of your spouse's debts if you don't take legal action. Even common-law marriages, now illegal in all but 8 states, require the parties to go through the same divorce procedure that traditionally married individuals go through. The key here, however, is legally married. Divorce is the right move when you are legally married but not necessary if your marriage was not legal.

Not a Legal Union

Annulments are not just a divorce alternative – they are in an entirely different class. Annulments can take everything back to before you even considered entering into a relationship because it essentially erases the act of marriage completely as if it never even happened. However, not all situations fit the annulment requirements and they do vary a bit from state to state.

Grounds For Annulments

An annulment can be quick, easy, and inexpensive and they also sometimes may be appropriate for those under religious constraints not to divorce. However, the couple has to meet the requirements before an annulment is granted (and none of those requirements mention religion). Below are some common grounds to justify an annulment:

  1. Consummation – This ground may be the best-known reason for getting an annulment. The parties have to swear under oath that they have not had sex since the date of the marriage to qualify under this ground.
  2. Illegal due to age issues – In the state of residency, the parties must be of legal age to marriage or an annulment may be granted.
  3. Force – You cannot be forced, tricked, or coerced into marriage or it can be annulled.
  4. Bigamy – This is when one or more of the parties is already legally married to another person. Only the first marriage is legal and valid.
  5. Incapacitated – Both parties have to be of sound mind at the time of the marriage. This is, needless to say, a common issue for those who marry while under the influence of something and then later regret it.

The legal distinction between divorce and annulments is important, and you will need to know what route to take. Speak to a divorce law firm, such as Brown & Hilderley PLLC, to find out more.


11 August 2021

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