Featured News 2019 Divorce and Annulment: Are they the Same Thing?

Divorce and Annulment: Are they the Same Thing?

Many people use the words annulled and divorced interchangeably—they assume that annulment is the legal end of a marriage. However, they are two very different legal procedures which are reserved for specific situation. While most couples who wish to separate choose divorce, annulment is an option that some couples choose.

What is the Difference Between Annulment & Divorce?

Like a divorce, an annulment legally terminates a marriage. However, when a couple seeks an annulment, they are asking the court to treat their marriage as if it never happened. With annulments, there is no alimony, child custody orders, or dividing of assets. Some couples choose annulment over divorce because of the stigma that society holds against divorcing a spouse. Others choose an annulment because their religion does not allow them to divorce. There are two types of annulment options available to end a marriage: civil annulments and religious annulments. The first takes place in a courtroom while the later takes place inside of a religious establishment.

Why Choose Annulment Instead of Divorce?

Some couples choose annulment over divorce because of the stigma that society holds against divorcing a spouse. Others choose an annulment because their religion does not allow them to divorce. Since annulments treat marriages as if they never happened, they provide no alimony, no child custody, and there is no dividing of assets between spouses. Some couples may vie for an annulment because of the stigma that is involved in a divorce. Certain religious groups may resist divorce but accept an annulment. For example, the Catholic church does not allow members to remarry after a divorce but will allow a second marriage after an annulment.

There are two types of annulment: a civil annulment, or a religious annulment. A civil annulment is conducted in the courtroom and religious annulment happens inside of a church. The grounds for an annulment vary from state to state, but generally, the couple must meet certain criteria to be eligible.

Why Are Annulments Provided?

Generally, annulments are provided in an instance where one spouse was not truthful to the other. If a spouse lied about their age, ability to have children, or withheld other important information, a court will grant an annulment to the marriage. Other times, a couple can have an annulment because of an issue that needs to be concealed. If one spouse is addicted to alcohol or drugs or has a sexually transmitted disease, an annulment can terminate the marriage without publicizing the issue. Additionally, a misunderstanding or disagreement may also cause the state to grant an annulment. If one spouse wants custody of children from the marriage and the other does not, then often the couple does not need to undertake a divorce.

Finally, annulments are frequently granted to recently married couples. New couples typically do not have children, assets, or other properties to sort out custody of. If a couple does have assets and children, the state will divide their property and decide child custody for the couple.

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