Share This Post
What is the Difference Between an Annulment and Divorce?
People often confuse annulment with divorce. They think they are the same thing, and they are different in a lot of ways. Let’s see what the difference is between them.
The Purpose of an Annulment
An annulment is different from a divorce. The purpose of an annulment is to retract the marital status while in a divorce, you’re ending your marriage.
The Reasoning for an Annulment
You must have a valid reason for an annulment. The reasons vary by state, but some common examples include:
- the couple was under the age of consent (usually 18) when they married.
- one party did not have the legal capacity to enter into the marriage contract at the time of contracting due to being mentally incompetent.
- the marriage took place in another country because one or both parties were already married.
An Annulment is Trickier Than a Divorce
An annulment is trickier than a divorce.
A divorce is a legal procedure that ends a marriage. In contrast, an annulment is a lawful procedure that cancels a wedding entirely. It’s also more complicated and harder to get than divorce—even though it has similar social effects and financial ones.
The most apparent similarity between divorces and annulments is that they are both legal proceedings. Both require a court order, which grants a final ruling on your marriage status, and they can’t be reversed; once the judge signs off on your divorce or annulment, that’s it: you’re no longer married.
Additionally, these procedures can be costly depending on where you live and what type of lawyer you hire to represent you (if any). In some cases, an attorney may not even be necessary because state law allows people filing for divorce or annulment to do so prose—that is, without an attorney present in court.
Finally, whether you file for divorce or annulment depends on how long ago your wedding date was: If it was less than two years ago when the separation occurred, then the chances are good that one spouse will file for divorce instead of having their marriage declared void by way of nullity petition (this latter option is called “annulment”).
Criteria for an Annulment
You must meet specific criteria for an annulment. For example, if you were married and your spouse was unfaithful during that marriage, you may be able to get an annulment on the grounds of a “fraudulent contract.” Suppose you were under 18 years of age at your marriage or could have been declared legally incompetent by a court before getting married. In that case, a petition can be filed on “incurable insanity.”
Length of an Annulment Vs. Divorce
On the other hand, annulments can take much longer to process than divorces. It’s not uncommon for an annulment to take several years from start to finish.
Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by court order, and it does not require that any specific reason be present; a divorce simply means that one or both partners are ending their marriage.
Since it is so easy and quick to get divorced in most places, there is often little incentive for couples who want to remain married but have irreconcilable differences (or simply want no formalized relationship) to consider an annulment instead.
Also, unlike divorce cases where only one-party initiates proceedings and both parties are free from each other’s claims after completion of proceedings; in annulment cases, both parties usually try hard not only because their relationship may still be going on but also because they need mutual consent before getting separated officially through this process.
A fault is not a factor in an annulment. However, if you want to get divorced, the fault may be significant (though not necessarily).
For example: If you’re asking for alimony because your spouse was unfaithful, you’ll need the court to find that their cheating made it impossible for them to continue the marriage. If not, you can’t get alimony from them (but they can still receive alimony from you).
In addition to these facts about fault and its importance in divorce cases, there are other significant facts about when courts grant an annulment.
Annulments Are Less Common Than Divorces
Divorce is a more common way of ending a marriage, and Annulment, on the other hand, is rarer. The United States has one of the lowest rates of annulments worldwide — and it’s much higher in countries where Catholicism or another religion with similar teachings dominates.
Difference Between an Annulment and Divorce: Conclusion
An annulment and divorce are not the same things. An annulment, unlike a divorce, is a court action that formally ends a marriage. A couple may seek an annulment when they believe that their marriage was never valid in the first place. In contrast, couples seeking to end their marriages will often file for a divorce instead of an annulment. If you are looking for a divorce attorney to help you through this process contact our trusted attorneys at Koleilat Law.