What is an Annulment?
When spouses no longer feel connected in their marriage, they frequently choose divorce. Some people are perplexed by the difference between divorce and annulment.
What does it mean when both spouses request an annulment?
An annulment is a legal process that ends a relationship. An annulled marriage is declared to have never technically existed or been valid from a legal standpoint.
Annulment declares the nullity of a marriage that was void from the start. It is to be differentiated from dissolution, which terminates a legally valid marriage for specific causes, such as one partner’s insanity after the marriage. Unless a third party is harmed, the annulment decree aims to restore the parties to their pre-marriage status.
How is Annulment different from Divorce?
Both divorces and annulments do the same thing: they end the marriage. They do, however, differ in their approach to marriage. When individuals obtain a divorce, they retain their previous marital status. On the other hand, an annulment considers the marriage as if it never occurred – and indeed, the primary distinction between an annulment and a divorce is that the union was never legal or valid to begin with.
Annulment declares a marriage null and void from the outset. It should be distinguished from dissolution, which ends a legally valid marriage for particular reasons, such as one of the partners’ insanity after the marriage. The annulment decree tries to restore the parties to their pre-marriage condition unless a third party is affected.
Divorce is the dissolution of a marriage that has been ordered by a court of law.
In order for it to be a feasible process, the marriage must be legal, which means that at the time of the couple’s wedding, there were no existing circumstances that may have invalidated the marriage contract.
Annulment proceedings might be more expensive than divorce proceedings. This is because the court has a unique procedure for obtaining a divorce if both parties consent.
If both parties agree to a divorce, you can complete papers and avoid going to court and speaking to a judge. However, there is no comparable court procedure for obtaining an annulment only on the basis of documentation.
If your circumstances permit an annulment, some people prefer it to a divorce. This is because it indicates that, legally speaking, you and your partner were not married.
Grounds for an Annulment
If you want to get your marriage annulled, it has to be either “void” or “voidable.” These two words have a significant difference, and that difference can mean the difference between a marriage that is intrinsically illegitimate and one that can be legally recognized.
A “void” marriage is a marriage that is not valid on its face. It should never have happened, and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it from happening again.
Two common instances include weddings based on “bigamy” (in which one of the spouses was previously married at the time of the marriage) and “incest” (in which one of the spouses was already married at the time of the marriage) (the marriage is between close blood relatives). In certain cases, the only option available is annulment.
On the other hand, a marriage that is “voidable” may exist legally under specific circumstances. While you may have grounds for annulment, this does not necessarily mean the relationship is over. In circumstances of voidable marriages, one of the parties may petition the court to determine the legitimacy of the marriage.
The grounds for annulment are:
• Marriage between minors, i.e., below the age of 18.
• Bigamy, i.e., marrying someone while legally married to another person.
• Incompetence of the mind, i.e., lack of the mental capacity to understand the marriage and provide consent.
• Incapacity to complete marriage, i.e., Unable to have sexual intercourse and not informing your spouse before marriage.
• Misrepresentation or fraud, i.e., hiding or mispresenting a fact in the marriage.
Certain state regulations place a time limit on when you can file for annulment. The majority of these time limits are independent of the length of your marriage. Rather than that, the filing deadlines are determined by the reasons for annulment.
Types of Annulment
• Civil Annulment
A civil annulment, which is issued by a judge, dissolves your marriage. When a judge granted an annulment petition, it is as if the marriage never occurred.
An annulment may be sought by either spouse by submitting a petition (legal request) with the court stating the grounds (reasons) for the annulment.
• Religious Annulment:
A church or religious tribunal, rather than a court, issues a religious annulment. Religious annulments do not constitute the dissolution of a civil marriage. To be precise, a church’s issuing of a religious annulment does not ensure that a judge will issue a civil annulment in your case. Similarly, a church may reject a civil annulment acquired by a court of law.
How can you get an Annulment?
In most situations, you must petition the court for an annulment, just as you would for a divorce. Because annulments require a distinct and typically higher standard of proof, you should seek the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. To obtain an annulment, you and your counsel must offer evidence of the grounds for it to the court.
The procedure for religious annulments varies according to your denomination. Consult a religious leader for additional information on the process.
To sum up, if you are considering filing for annulment of your marriage, it is critical to retain the services of an experienced attorney who can provide a compelling case.
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