Annulment vs. Divorce: Is Divorce Really The Answer?


The question of annulment vs. divorce is one that many couples face every day. It can be extremely painful to end a marriage no matter which way you choose to go about it, but the choice you make should be well thought out and agreed upon by both parties in order to ensure the best possible outcome. Divorce is difficult but it can be made a little easier if it’s done the right way.

In order to decide should I get divorced, you first need to understand the difference between divorce and annulment. Both are means for dissolving the marriage union; where they differ is in how they ultimately treat the marriage. Divorce recognizes that the two parties were, in fact, married and the marriage has been legally dissolved. An annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.

An annulment can be achieved through legal channels or through religious ones, but in either case the end result is the same. Once the annulment is granted the result is that in the eyes of church and law there was never any marriage. Another factor in the comparison of annulment vs. divorce is the reasons required for obtaining each one.

There can be many grounds for seeking a divorce, including adultery, abuse, irreconcilable differences and several others. Today there is also what is known as a “no fault” divorce where no specific reason is given at all. This “no fault” type of divorce is generally easier to obtain because no proof of guilt is required. As such more and more couples are going this route.

With an annulment there must be proof that one of the parties was guilty of hiding something like a previous marriage or children, committed fraud such as marrying to gain citizenship, lacked the ability to consent either because of mental incapacity or being underage, or there was a case of incest or impotence involved, any of which would render the marriage invalid.

If you can answer yes to any of those questions then you are a candidate for an annulment. If your grounds for wanting to end your marriage don’t fall under this type of heading, then you should probably consider filing for divorce. No matter what the case, when it comes to the debate over annulment vs. divorce, you want to be very sure before you answer either way.

There may be religious reasons why an annulment would be preferable to a divorce. You can seek the advice of a religious leader in this case. An important factor to remember is that, while most often annulments take place early on in a marriage before children are involved, if there are children, they are never considered illegitimate after an annulment, whether it is civil or religious. That is a common misconception and often the reason people ask should I get divorced.

No one can really decide if any particular couple should get divorced except for the couple themselves. It is a very personal decision and one that should never be undertaken casually. And remember that whatever you do choose, the ultimate goal should be to end your marriage as peacefully and amicably as possible, for the good of everyone involved.

The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.

Posted in Amicable Divorce and Conflict Resolution and tagged , .

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