What’s an Annulment?

difference between annulment and divorceYou’ve likely heard the term “annulment” before, but you may wonder what exactly this means – legally speaking. And when it comes to dissolving a marriage, it’s important to understand the differences between annulment and divorce – and whether or not you qualify for the former.

What’s the difference between annulment and divorce

First it’s important to understand that a divorce and an annulment are two distinct, different court actions. When a couple gets divorced, the court is essentially terminating the marriage. Of course, there are many details to be worked out and negotiated, but the end result is that the marriage is dissolved.

An annulment, on the other hand, doesn’t terminate a marriage. In fact, the annulment is simply the court deciding there was never a marriage at all. Basically, a request for an annulment is a request to the court to determine that the marriage is null and void under the law. Essentially, if you receive an annulment, you were never married at all.

Grounds for annulment

Not every marriage can be annulled. You’ll need to present the court with grounds for annulment. Some of the grounds for annulment include:

  • One spouse being found under the age to legally marry (18)
  • Consent to marriage was forced or coerced
  • One spouse committed fraud, knowledge of which would have prevented the other party from entering into the marriage
  • One spouse did not admit he or she was physically unable to consummate the marriage
  • By getting married, one or both parties committed bigamy or incest

Marriage is complex. Ending or dissolving that marriage can be even more complex. If you have questions about whether or not you qualify for an annulment – and what happens in those proceedings, give us a call. We can guide you through the process and make sure you see the best possible outcome.