What Exactly Is The Difference Between An Annulment And A Divorce?
February 28, 2023
We’ve all heard the words ‘annulment’ and ‘divorce’, but how do they differ from one another? Today we will discuss each term, and learn what the differences are between them. While both an annulment and a divorce are legal procedures that end with the same result of dissolution of a marriage, that is really the only thing they have in common.
An annulment is a legal procedure through which a marriage is declared null and void, or to put it in layman’s terms, the couple was never married. There are certain requirements that must be met in order to have a marriage annulled, and meeting them can be difficult, so going that route isn’t always an option. Some examples of the types of situations for which you could request that your marriage be annulled are if the marriage was the result of being coerced, if your spouse is unable to have children and knowingly lied to you about it before you married, if your spouse was legally married to someone else when they married you, if one or both of you were under the age of legal consent when you got married, if one of you wasn’t of sound mind when you married due to being under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a mental disorder, if you are too closely related to one another to legally marry, or if the marriage was never consummated due to a physical disability. With that being said, each state has its own requirements and specific grounds that can be used to request an annulment, so if you’re considering this option, researching and understanding your state’s specific laws regarding marriage annulment is important. Even though most annulments happen within the first year or two of marriage, there are many states that don’t have a statute of limitations in place limiting the time you have to file for an annulment, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Some other key differences between annulments and divorces are that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are typically invalidated when a marriage is annulled, as both are legal agreements that apply to marriages, which in the eyes of the courts never happened. Additionally, neither you or your partner would be entitled to any money or assets that were made or obtained by the other one during the marriage.
Now let’s discuss what a divorce is. When filing for divorce, the couple is wanting to end their marriage, and thus must go through the legal procedure of having the court dissolve it. During this procedure, the court will formalize all issues related to the divorce, including the division of assets and property that were accumulated during the marriage, the division of any debt, finalizing any spousal support that was negotiated, plus child custody and child support if there are any children involved.
One key way that divorces differ from annulments is that since the vast majority of divorces are filed as “no fault”, there are no particular requirements that need to be met in order for the divorce to be granted. Additionally, since there are marital assets, property and debt to be divided in a divorce, as well as any spousal and child support, the process usually takes longer to complete than an annulment does. It also typically costs more, as both your and your partner’s attorneys are spending more of their time and resources on negotiating agreements and filing the necessary paperwork with the court system.
When deciding whether to request that your marriage be annulled or to file for divorce, it is wise to consult a divorce attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state.
If you conclude that filing for a divorce is the route you need to take in order to legally dissolve your marriage, you will then need to decide if you need an attorney to handle the negotiations and paperwork filing with the courts. If the divorce is simple and straightforward enough, you may be able to use an online platform such as www.thequickdivorce.com to handle the creation and submission of the required paperwork for the court system in your state.