The Difference between Annulment and Divorce

Posted on the April 24th, 2012 under Legal Guides by admin

If you are planning to end your marriage, you may wonder about the difference between divorce and annulment. Many couples come to realize that no matter how hard they try, they simply cannot make their marriages work. Divorces happen every day all over the world and there are different legal methods for ending a marriage. While both annulment and divorce are legal methods for the dissolution of a marriage, they both have very different outcomes.

The two may seem very similar because they both end a marriage. An annulment however, takes away the fact that a marriage ever existed. Divorce however, legally ends the marriage. It does not claim that there was never a marriage in the first place. Every state has its own rules concerning both divorce and annulment. It is important to know the laws in your state and to understand a few of the major differences between the two. There are differences in grounds or reasons for the ending of the marriage in both cases.

In an annulment, certain things must be present. For instance, an annulment can often be granted in the case of bigamy because in most states, being married to more than one person at a time is not legal. This means that the marriage was not truly a legally recognized marriage. If a spouse grossly misrepresents himself or herself then that fraudulence could also be grounds for an annulment. Other grounds for annulment include the inability to produce a child, cases of mental illness, marriages involving couples who are biologically related and an influence of illegal drugs or alcohol when the marriage took place. For instance, if you are drunk and suddenly decide to get married, you may be able to have that marriage annulled when you sober up.

For divorces, things like extramarital affairs, desertion, abuse and irreconcilable differences can all be grounds for filing. Irreconcilable differences are often used when a married couple divorces. This simply means that there is no way to save the marriage. Neither party is really at fault but both agree that a divorce is imminent. Any history of physical, mental or emotional abuse can also constitute a divorce. Unlike annulment however, divorced couples have legally been married to each other. The wife will still have the husband’s legal name unless she undergoes a name change on the divorce papers.

Determining whether you need an annulment or a divorce can be difficult. Again, different states have different rules. If you know without a doubt that your marriage is over, it may be time to speak with a family law attorney. Lawyers who specialize in family law know the regulations concerning annulment and divorce. An experienced attorney will be able to help you to determine if you quality to file for an annulment or if you must undergo divorce proceedings. If you have children, you are likely going to be filing for divorce. Other stipulations will also apply. Speaking with an attorney will help you to ensure that you file the proper papers.

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