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Annulment vs Divorce: What's the Difference?

Annulment vs Divorce

When a marriage ends, two legal options are available to dissolve the marriage: annulment and divorce. While both options end the marital relationship, there are significant differences between annulment and divorce. This blog will explore the differences and why someone may choose one.


An annulment, a declaration of nullity, is a legal process that declares a marriage null and void. When a marriage is annulled, it is as if it never happened. In other words, it is a legal recognition that the marriage was never legally valid. An annulment can only be granted under specific circumstances, which vary by state but often include:

1. Fraud or misrepresentation: One or both parties entered the marriage based on false information or misrepresentations.

2. Lack of consent: One or both parties were forced into the marriage, unable to consent due to mental incapacity, or too young to marry legally.

3. Impotence: One party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage.

4. Bigamy: One or both parties were legally married when the marriage was annulled.


On the other hand, a divorce is the legal dissolution of a valid marriage. Divorce terminates the marital relationship and divides assets and debts between the parties. A divorce can only be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, which means that the marriage has broken down to the point that it cannot be saved. In some states, divorce can also be granted on the grounds of fault, such as adultery, abandonment, or cruelty.

The Differences

The main difference between annulment and divorce is that an annulment essentially voids the marriage, while divorce dissolves a valid marriage. Another significant difference is the requirements for proving eligibility for each legal action. To request an annulment, a petitioner must prove that one of the specific grounds is present. For a divorce, generally, only irreconcilable differences need to be confirmed.

Why Choose Annulment Over Divorce?

There are several reasons someone may pursue an annulment instead of a divorce. One reason is that an annulment can often provide a sense of closure and may alleviate religious concerns about divorce. Additionally, a repeal can impact the ability to receive spousal support or divide assets and debts differently than a divorce.

An annulment and divorce are two distinct legal processes for ending a marriage, with different requirements and outcomes. While both may involve emotional and financial consequences, understanding the differences can help individuals decide which option is correct.

Make the Decision that is best for your situation.



Time to Dish:

  • Was your marriage an annulment or divorce?

  • Why did you choose one or the other?

  • Do you feel you chose the right path?


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