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The difference between divorce and annulment

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | FAMILY LAW - Divorce |

Marriage binds two people in a legal and often emotional bond. But sometimes, circumstances arise where a couple wants to end that bond.

While many know about divorce, annulment is another way to end a marriage, but it differs significantly.

What is divorce?

Divorce marks the end of a marriage. Two married people decide they no longer want to be together, and they go through a legal process to end their marriage. This happens in an estimated 39% of marriages. It is a way to formally and legally say that the marriage is over.

What is annulment?

On the other hand, an annulment means the marriage was never legal or valid to begin with. It is like a declaration that the marriage never happened. This can be due to many reasons, such as one partner already in a marriage to someone else at the time or the partners being too closely related. After an annulment, it is as if the marriage never existed in the legal records.

The key differences

There are significant differences between a divorce and an annulment. In a divorce, the marriage was legal and valid, but the partners want to end it. They divide their assets, and if they have children, they figure out custody arrangements. In an annulment, since the marriage was never valid, there are typically no joint assets to divide, and there may be no need for custody arrangements if the children are not legally recognized as belonging to both partners.

Whether a couple goes through a divorce or an annulment, both processes allow individuals to separate from a relationship that is not working and move forward with their lives. Each has its own set of legal requirements and consequences, so it is important for separating couples to understand these before proceeding.