What Is An Annulment Vs. Divorce?
Are you one of the many people that aren't happy in your marriage? Maybe you and your partner have been growing apart for a while. Maybe something has happened that you can't get past. You might decide to separate for some different reasons, but you might have questions when it comes to how you're going to separate. That's why you're probably considering annulment vs. divorce, and maybe you're not sure which one is the right choice.
What Is An Annulment?
Have you heard of an annulment before? If you haven't, then you're not alone because some people never think about it. If you decide that you need to end your marriage and that you and your partner just can't or don't want to make it work, they get a divorce. An annulment, however, is sometimes an option that you can consider. There are specific situations that you need to fit in to get an annulment instead of a divorce, but there are some benefits to going through those hoops.
An annulment, unlike a divorce, means that, for all intents and purposes, the marriage never actually happened. If you meet the specific qualifications that are listed, you and your partner can sign a paper that says your marriage was never valid, legal, or binding in the first place, and therefore you are both going to walk away like it never actually happened. As we said, though, there are specific things that have to happen for a marriage to be eligible for annulment. If you don't meet those qualifications, you have to get a divorce if you want to end your relationship legally.
So, just what do you need to get an annulment? Several different things could provide cause for annulment. These include:
- Marriage between close relatives (just how close is subject to the laws of the state you live in)
- Mental incapacity (such as a person who doesn't understand the agreement they are entering into)
- Underage marriage (one of the parties is under the legal age to consent to marriage)
- Duress (someone who is being pressured into the wedding when they don't want to)
- Fraud (the marriage is being carried out to achieve some illegal means such as marrying to change someone's immigration status)
- Bigamy (being married to someone else and going through a second marriage)
If any of these apply to you or your partner, you may have grounds for annulment. Of course, there may be more (or fewer) situations where the just cause is present depending on the specific state that you live in. If you and your partner are looking to end your relationship, you may want to look at the rules regarding annulment to find out if it is an option for you.
What Is A Divorce?
We've probably all heard of divorce. When you and your partner decide that things just aren't going to work out, that's what you probably think about, right? You might decide to end things for some different reasons, but if you or your partner (or both of you) aren't happy, it's probably the best idea to end things now before either of you end up even more unhappy. You don't deserve that, and it's important to remember. You (and your partner) deserve to be happy, and if that isn't happening in your relationship, then divorce might start to look like the best option.
With a divorce, unlike with an annulment, you acknowledge that the marriage happened and that it was valid and legal but that you want to be no longer bound by it. If you and your partner don't fit the qualifications for an annulment, you will have to think about a divorce instead. Keep in mind that plenty of people enter into a relationship with love and plans for the future, and that relationship doesn't work. If that's you, it's important to recognize that there is nothing wrong with that.
Divorce is allowed in some different situations. In most states, all you need is 'irreconcilable differences.' That's it. You tell your lawyer and the judge that you and your partner have irreconcilable differences, and they will allow you to get the divorce with absolutely nothing else needed. That's not true everywhere, however, so it's important to know what the rules are in your state. You need to know what you and your partner have to do to end your relationship.
For most states, you can get what is considered a 'no grounds' divorce, which requires absolutely nothing from you or your partner. If you live in a state that requires you to have an 'at fault' divorce, it means that one or the other of you must have done something to cause a breakdown of the marriage. Keep in mind that some defenses can be raised if your partner does not want the divorce, this can make it a little more difficult to get the divorce, and you may have to go in front of a judge. Some of the different 'at fault' causes can include:
- Mental illness
- Criminal conviction
- Drug abuse
The other party can raise responses to an at-fault divorce or even to a no-fault divorce, and you will both be required to go in front of a judge to discuss ending the relationship. In some areas, the judge may require you to go through some steps to attempt to reconcile the marriage (or decide for certain that it cannot be repaired), but in most areas' divorces are granted if one party wants them, even in states that require cause for a divorce.
Are You Ready For Annulment Or Divorce?
If you're thinking about getting a divorce or annulment, it's important to make sure you're ready. Just because you and your partner are having trouble does not mean that you are ready to get a divorce. Think about how much you and your partner have been fighting or arguing or just what is happening in your relationship that makes you think you're ready to leave it behind you. While some things may be automatic 'deal-breakers for you, other things may be possible to reconcile if you and your partner are willing to do so.
Look at what is happening in your and your partner's lives. What kind of problem do you have? Is it something that you would potentially be willing to work through? Maybe you have been fighting a lot, but you're willing to work on it if they are. Maybe you've been drifting apart, but you're interested in working with your partner. Have the problems just started, or have they been going on for a long time? Looking at each of these things will help you understand just what you want to do (or don't want to do). Jumping into anything is not going to be good for either of you.
Anyone who is considering an annulment or divorce should start by talking with their partner. Find out what is going on with either one of you and what each of you is feeling. Maybe your partner or you don't realize what the other person is thinking or feeling. It's possible you could start making changes and decide that your relationship will work out after all. Of course, it's also possible that you could talk about it and decide even more strongly that things will not work between the two of you.
Getting The Help You Need
Whether you and your partner are looking to make things work or have decided to call it quits, you must seek professional help. Even if you are the one who decided to end the relationship, it's going to be a big step for you to get through. Remember, this is someone that you have spent a great deal of time with and invested a lot into. You will feel the loss, which means you will want someone to help you work through that kind of loss.
Regain is one way that you can get the help that you're looking for. This online service lets you connect with therapists and psychiatrists throughout the country without having to worry about finding a location and going to their office. You'll be able to comfortably talk to whoever you want without having to leave your own home; it's going to improve your ability to relax.
The most important thing is just finding someone and being sure to open up to them as much as possible; that way, you're going to have a better chance of getting through this the right way. Check out Regain to find out more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Would Someone Want An Annulment?
Since annulment and divorce are two different concepts, there are several reasons why somebody may want to obtain an annulment. Firstly, an annulled marriage basically means that the marriage never legally happened. The difference between annulment and divorce is that legal courts recognize a divorce as having happened in the past. Thus, one reason why couples may want civil annulments is if they consider their marriage to be morally wrong for any reason.
- If a partner hid an important fact about his or her life, such as having a criminal record
- Underage marriage
- If a partner is under the legal age to marry
- If somebody felt forced to marry under stressful or illegal conditions
These are a few examples, but there must be a very good reason for an annulment or a divorce in general. Furthermore, either legal courts or a religious institution can grant an annulment. As such, divorce and annulment should be treated seriously.
How Long Can You Be Married To Have An Annulment?
Your timeframe for getting an annulment depends on the state and the state court’s exceptions. For more information about annulment and divorce rules in your state, you can consult your state’s website. To give you a rough example of how long one can be married to have an annulment, we will provide the statute of limitations to file for an annulment in California.
- An annulment and divorce can occur at any time so long as both parties are married and they are alive. Certain states clarify how long one must be married before one can file for civil annulments. For example, Texas can grant an annulment within 72 hours after the marriage license was given to the couple.
- If the person who got married or joined a domestic partnership is below the legal age to marry, that person can only file for annulment within 4 years after reaching age 18. Any parent or guardian can obtain an annulment if the minor is below 18 years of age
- If there was fraud involved in one’s marriage, it must be filed within 4 years of the individual discovering the deceptive act.
While you can get an annulment shortly after marriage, each state will have its exceptions and stipulations concerning divorce and annulment. If you want to see your state’s laws about annulment and divorce, refer to this helpful guide that includes links to each state regarding divorce and annulment topics.
What Qualifies As An Annulment?
An annulment and religious annulment only occurs in specific situations. Thus, the difference between annulment and divorce is that divorce can happen at any time for almost any reason. Therefore, when individuals choose either an annulment or a divorce, they first need to examine the qualifications of the annulment. Some of these conditions include:
- Family too closely relates both spouses
- One party did not consent
- For example, the individual was forced into the marriage
- When somebody is married, but they also have another marriage at the same time.
Additionally, the difference between annulment done in the state court versus religious institution is also important. There are multiple types of religious annulments, such as the religious annulment for the Catholic Church.
After a law divorce, an individual can still have an annulled marriage by consulting the Catholic Church for a religious annulment. Religious annulments can remove the shame, or in some practices, sin, one party feels about their annulment and divorce. Lastly, one or both parties can remarry after their divorce and annulment in the Catholic Church. A religious annulment differs in that both parties consult their religious institutions instead of the state court.
Under What Circumstances Can You Get An Annulment?
You can get civil annulments if your marriage falls under specific criteria. If the criteria are met, then you can obtain an annulment. If you want to resolve your marriage for religious reasons, you can get an annulment and divorce within your church, but this may differ depending on the religion. The circumstances to obtain an annulment include:
- Miscommunication about what each party wants out of the marriage
- Unsound mind
- If you or your spouse gave consent to marry while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then the court can grant an annulment
These conditions only apply to annulments. Annulment and divorce are two different ways to manage the future of one’s marriage. Divorce and annulment procedures can have different effects, such as needing a divorce attorney if you and your partner cannot agree on divorce or annulment. Annulment and divorce also differ, with civil annulments legally eliminating the marriage while a law divorce still has the marriage on record.
Is An Annulment Cheaper Than A Divorce?
The difference between annulment and divorce is the specific requirements for annulment. As such, it may be easier for an individual to pursue a divorce and get a divorce attorney to settle the issues.
Those who are thinking of divorce or annulment can talk with their partner and discuss if the marriage is founded on unfair principles. This includes if they gave the consent to marry while under the influence.
While divorce annulment will see an ending for the couples just the same, an annulment can only cover specific requirements, while a divorce can occur due to many reasons. If you want a divorce or annulment, consider your options and consult someone you trust (probably a legal professional) to see how you can proceed with your marriage or separation.
Can You Marry Again After The Annulment?
Since an annulment results in no evidence that you were married, it is possible to remarry another person or even the same individual. This works in both divorce and annulment cases, but you need the consent of both parties to reverse annulment and divorce.
Although most states do not have any restrictions on marrying somebody after divorce and annulment, certain states have a waiting period before a second marriage. If you want to marry again after divorce annulment, then you can check if your state has a waiting period.
What is the purpose of an annulment?
Why is an annulment not enough?
Is annulment better than divorce?
Why is divorce faster than annulment?