Annulment Or Divorce? How To Know

25 November 2015
 Categories: , Blog

If you have been married for a short time and have come to the realization that you've made a mistake, you are likely considering ending your marriage. You may have heard about celebrities getting an annulment instead of divorce and are wondering if you could get an annulment as well. Annulments seem to provide a quicker method of parting ways. Additionally, you may be interested in annulments for religious reasons. To find out if an annulment could be right for you, read on.

What is an annulment?

Annulments were created as a work-around to the thorny issue of ending relationships for those who are followers of certain religions that do not condone divorce. For example, the Catholic church, to this day, does not recognize legal divorces at all, but does recognize annulments. An annulment is not simply a watered-down version of a divorce, it's a completely different concept. With an annulment in place, you can attest that, legally at least, the marriage never even existed at all.

Grounds for annulment

With no-fault divorce available in many states now, annulments go against that concept by requiring proof of the alleged grounds. It should be noted that religion is not grounds for annulment in the United States, but the reasons below are:

  • Forced consent: the marriage took place due to force by one party over the other.
  • Fraud: the marriage took place as a result of deception by one party over the other.
  • Prohibited: the marriage constituted an incestuous relationship.
  • Bigamy: a legal marriage already existed between at least one party and another.
  • Incapacity: the marriage took place while at least one party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol to such an extent as to be incognizant of their actions.
  • Mental illness: one party had a mental illness at the time of marriage.
  • Lack of consummation: at least one party was unable to physically engage in sexual intercourse after the marriage.
  • Age requirement: at least one party was not legally able to marry.

Options to annulments

Divorce is the only option for those who don't qualify for an annulment. For those in "no fault" states, you can divorce by pleading irreconcilable differences, (without assigning blame), which can result in a quicker and easier divorce process. For those who have no debt, little property and no children, a summary or simplified divorce may be an option to consider if you cannot have an annulment.

Consult with a family law attorney for more information and to find out if an annulment is right for you.