If you want to end your marriage there are several options available. For many individuals, an annulment is the most prudent choice, but you might not know exactly what this process involves.
It is critical to understand the differences between separation, mediation, a traditional divorce and an annulment to help you determine what is the right option. Here are a few frequently asked questions you might have about an annulment.
What Is the Difference Between a Traditional Divorce and an Annulment?
In many respects, an annulment and a divorce are very similar. For example, both are legal proceedings that end with two former spouses no longer joined in marriage. However, it is critical to understand the main difference between an annulment and a divorce before going forward.
When seeking a divorce, the two parties or the court acknowledge the marriage occurred. An annulment, on the other hand, is a legal end to a marriage the court states was not valid. In either case, both former spouses can choose to remarry.
What Are a Few of the Grounds for Annulment?
There are two types of divorces: fault and no-fault. For an individual to seek a fault divorce, they must prove that the other spouse’s actions led to the divorce. In a state with no-fault divorce laws, neither party must provide evidence of the other’s wrongdoings.
In a way that is similar to a fault divorce, one spouse must provide valid grounds to receive an annulment. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Previous marriage. The other spouse was legally married to another person.
- Blood relatives. The spouses are relatives. An aunt and nephew, uncle and niece, grandparent and grandchild, or parent and biological child are a few examples.
- Forced marriage. One party was forced into the marriage.
- Underage. One party was under the age of marital consent.
- Consummation. The spouses did not consummate their marriage.
- Misrepresentation or fraud. For example, if one spouse lied about being a drug user, their age or a past criminal history, it could be grounds for an annulment.
These are only a handful of examples. If you have any further questions about what is considered grounds for annulment, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney.
Are There Any Benefits to Seeking an Annulment?
Depending on an individual’s circumstances, there are several advantages to seeking an annulment. These benefits will depend on individual situations for both spouses. For example, if one spouse was collecting alimony before the annulled marriage, they can often begin receiving those payments again from a former spouse.
If either spouse’s finances were destroyed because of their marriage, an annulment can often help both spouses become more stable. In many states, an equitable division of marital assets is a legal option. However, if an individual is granted an annulment, they will be allowed to retain all their assets, including those assets that were obtained before and after the marriage.
Finally, for many individuals who can seek an annulment, a piece of paper that confirms their marriage never occurred in the first place can help those individuals more easily rebuild their lives and move on.
What Should I Do First?
If you are considering your options for ending a marriage, your first step needs to be contacting an attorney. Your attorney can help you determine if an annulment is the right choice, or if it is even possible. Next, your attorney will guide you through the process of determining the grounds for your annulment and finding evidence to support these grounds.
Do not try to go through this process alone. Instead, contact an attorney to learn about your options and rights.
Obtaining an annulment for many individuals is the best option available for many individuals. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at the Law Offices of W. Shane Jennings.