Divorce laws vary from state to state, but many couples may wish to pursue an annulment for religious or other personal reasons. Whereas divorces are typically handled only through the courts, annulments are often accompanied by a religious component in which the church or clergy declare the marriage void after a court order is issued. An annulment makes the marriage as if the marriage never happened.
Annulments are sometimes advantageous because they can help parties avoid paying alimony or being subject to prenuptial agreements. Not every marriage can be annulled, which is why you should always contact a knowledgeable and experienced divorce lawyer for advice if you are considering either a divorce or an annulment.
Situations In Which An Annulment Is Permitted:
- One of the parties lacked the mental ability to enter into a contract due to already being married, age, intoxication, or other mental incapacity.
- If one or both parties can prove that there was no intent to form a contract or that the marriage was in jest, they may be able to annul the marriage.
- Sometimes a marriage can be annulled if one party lacks the ability to physically consummate the marriage.
A marriage can be annulled where there is deceit or fraud if the marriage has not been consummated.
- Annulment is an option if one of the parties was forced to marry under duress and if the duress continued throughout the marriage to the point that the person could not act freely.
Should I Seek A Divorce Or An Annulment
Whether it is better to seek a dissolution of marriage through divorce or an annulment depends on the circumstances in your case and your personal preference. Only a divorce attorney knowledgeable in family law in your state can give you legal advice about when to pursue a divorce or an annulment. Even in cases where some of the above facts are present, an annulment is not guaranteed, especially in cases where the parties knew of the defects and continued in the marriage.
Annulments are usually only allowed up to a short period after the marriage or until one of the parties knew or should have known of the defects. It is more difficult to obtain an annulment where there has been physical consummation of the marriage or where children have been produced. Contact an experienced divorce lawyer today to discuss your rights regarding both divorce and annulment.