A family divorce lawyer explains the separation, annulment and divorce

At Shaffer Family Law, our goal is to help you understand the process and make decisions that will benefit you. We believe that mediation and negotiated settlements are almost always better alternatives to courtroom litigation. If legal action is necessary, we will fight to protect your rights. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the divorce process.

Divorce vs. Annulment of Marriage

An annulment of marriage is a legal ruling that marriage is not binding. Annulments can occur when a court finds a marriage invalid. While a divorce ends a legally valid marriage, an annulment acts as if it never happened. The result of an annulment is the same as a divorce. The parties are single to remarry or enter a domestic partnership. An annulment proceeding also determines child custody, child support, alimony, and division of assets.

Divorce vs. Legal Separation

A legal separation is when a court established a separation between spouses. The marriage has not ended, which means both spouses are prohibited from remarrying or entering a domestic partnership with another person. Divorce and a legal separation create a legal space between you and your spouse. You live and keep your finances separated. The court orders child custody and support, division of marital assets and debts, and spousal support (alimony if you divorce).

The main difference is that with separation, you remain legally married to each other, which means you must continue to mark “married” on forms, and you cannot remarry. You can also inherit from each other.

Is divorce, annulment, or separation the best choice for me?

Deciding if you want to obtain a divorce, annulment, or legal separation is a personal decision. However, not all procedures are equally available to all individuals. For example, getting an annulment is often limited. If a union does not qualify for an annulment, a couple needs to decide if separation or filing for a divorce is the best option.

Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need to hire a lawyer before obtaining a divorce, legal separation, or annulment. However, some couples consider legal representation to get guidance through the complexities of child custody, spousal support, and more. To learn about how Shaffer Family Law can help you, give us a call today at (480) 470-3030.

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