Family law

Divorce vs. Annulment: Which is the Better Option for You?

Divorce Decree

Divorce or annulment – they both accomplish the same goal but entail a completely different process to get there. Before we go delve further into this topic, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the differences between the two legal ways to end a marriage. By definition, divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body, whereas annulment is a legal method of declaring a marriage null – making it so it never happened. For some parties, a divorce is like a bad label that they can never shed. If your life reaches this unfortunate crossroads, which option do you choose? Throughout the following paragraphs we will look at some pros and cons of both options and hopefully give you a better idea of what your options truly are.

Erasing the past
Its an unfortunate truth – some marriages just have to end. If you don’t want to go through the legal red tape of a divorce, an annulment can be a viable replacement option. Annulments come in two forms – civil and religious. The former can be had under certain circumstances (fraud, lying, misunderstandings etc). Typically, annulments happen early on in a marriage after one of the parties comes privy to some information that, in one way or another, invalidates the marriage.

The positive of an annulment – if there is a positive – would be that the entire marriage is erased as if it never happened. There will be no legal records of its existence. Some religions require annulments to allow an individual to remarry (like Roman Catholicism for example). To this end, if certain conditions are met after obtaining a civil annulment, one may acquire the religious counterpart in order to have a second marriage that is recognized by the church. From a sociological labeling standpoint, after an annulment one is simply “unmarried”, whereas after a divorce the label of “divorced” is carried.

Divorces, unlike annulments, can be requested with no fault or reason in many states. In other words, a divorce can be allowed with no explanation or the existence of a real problem. One could say that the looseness of divorce laws has helped increase divorce rates to unreasonably high levels to the point that close to one of every two marriages ends in divorce in the United States. Unlike annulments, divorces only need differences of opinion or a desire to separate to be present in order to be awarded; therefore they do not indicate that either party was in the wrong. This is an option that can help both husband and wife to save face.

Separating with a spouse is never one of your finest moments, but finding the strong law firm assistance will make it as smooth as possible to help you move on with your life and find happiness again. Consult with experts for advice in every area during those unfortunate moments.

Clearly, neither option is ideal. However, sometimes it’s necessary to cut ties and move on to better places. If carrying around a divorce for the rest of your life is not a card that you are willing to play – an annulment may be for you. It’s not very often that you can completely (and legally) erase a bad decision, but annulments can provide that if you can prove that the marriage should never have happened to begin with. Regardless of what you choose, both options still require the two parties to discuss how children, money and property are divided so, once again, proper legal counsel is highly recommended.