Annulment vs. Divorce

Couple Signing Divorce Paperwork

The two ways to legally end a marriage are through annulment and divorce. An annulment is a legal process that cancels a marriage between a man and a woman. When a marriage is annulled, it’s basically completely erased and when it comes to legality, it essentially declares that the marriage never officially existed and was at no time valid.

A divorce, or legal termination of a marriage, is the ending of a marriage between two people is considered valid or legal. A divorce ends with both parties returning to a single status with the ability to get married again. Each individual state has its own laws when it comes to the grounds for marriage annulment or divorce, but there are many things that are universally agreed upon.

An annulment case can be started by either person in the marriage and the person initiating the annulment has to provide proof that they have grounds to do so and they can prove it, the marriage will be considered invalid by the court. Here are a few common grounds for annulment:

  • Bigamy (Adultery): someone was already married to another person
  • Forced Consent: someone was forced or threatened into marriage and only entered into it under coercion
  • Deception: one of the spouses got into the marriage based on falsehoods or misrepresentation
  • Marriage Forbidden by Law: Usually in the case that the marriage was between people that have a familial relationship (incest)
  • Mental Illness: One of the spouses was mentally ill or emotionally troubled during the marriage
  • Under the Influence: Someone was drunk or on drugs at the time of the marriage, essentially making them unable to make informed consent
  • Inability to Satisfy Needs: One of the spouses was physically unable to have sexual relations or was impotent during the marriage
  • Underage: Someone was too young to get married without parental consent or approval from the court

Depending on where you live, divorces can be a lot more complicated in comparison to an annulment. Like annulment cases, each state has its own laws when it comes to divorce. Generally, divorce cases involve marital assets being divided, and debts being settled. If there are children involved, a divorce proceeding decides on custody, visitation rights, and spousal and child support.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws. It can be the best way to learn what your rights are when it comes to marital dissolution and can also help you decide whether an annulment or divorce is right for you. If you’re considering filing divorce, Shaffer Family Law in Chandler can help you file and give you the support you will need throughout the process. Give us a call at (480) 470-3030 today!

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