Divorce vs Annulment
- Posted on: Oct 19 2018
When it comes to ending a marriage, you have two options. Most people get a divorce, but you might also have the option of getting an annulment. Annulments aren’t always an option, though, and they are different from a divorce in a few key ways.
What Is an Annulment?
An annulment is a court decree that your marriage is void. A divorce recognizes a valid marriage and is the process of ending that marriage. With an annulment, the marriage is seen as invalid. The court has determined that the marriage should never have taken place at all and, in some cases, is even illegal.
Reasons for an Annulment
When you file for a divorce, the grounds can be just about anything. You can divorce simply because the two of you decide you are incompatible. Qualifying for an annulment, however, is not as easy. Here are a few of the most common reasons a court grants an annulment:
- Bigamy – one or both of the spouses were still legally married to someone else.
- Incest – spouses are closely related, invalidating the law.
- Underage – one of the spouses was under the age of consent and did not have parental or court approval to marry.
- Fraud – one of the spouses was led to marry under false pretenses or through misrepresentation.
- Forced Consent – one spouse was threatened or forced to get married.
- Mental incapacity – one or both spouses were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and thus unable to fully consent to the marriage.
You may also find your marriage annulled, even if you don’t want it to be, if the person who conducted your marriage and signed off on your marriage certificate was not properly licensed to perform weddings.
Which Is the Better Option?
While it may sound like it would be more complicated, annulment is often the easier and more simplified process. To get an annulment, you file a petition with the court that states you believe your marriage is void and cannot be legally binding for whatever reason.
The end result of a divorce is that you and your spouse split your assets and debts. With an annulment, the court attempts to fully erase the marriage. The end result is that each party is “reset” to how they were before the marriage. Whatever properties and assets each spouse had before they were married is what they take away from the marriage. Shared assets are up to the court to divide. If there are children, then the court also decides custody and child support as it would in a divorce.
Need help deciding if an annulment is right for your marriage? The FK Law Group can assist you. Contact us today for more information.