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What’s the difference between a divorce and an annulment?

If you wish to put an end to your marriage, you probably have questions about the best way to proceed. Some even look into ending their unions by way of an annulment, which can be a complex legal procedure in most cases. VeryWellMind.com explains these differences so you can make the best decision about ending your marriage.  

The most obvious difference between a divorce an annulment is how the marriage is regarded after the process is complete. With a divorce, the marriage is ended, and each party goes back to being a single person. With an annulment, the marriage itself is considered null and void. As a result, neither party is able to seek spousal support, nor are assets considered shared and subsequently divided. However the marriage will still be on record and if any children resulted from the union they will be considered legitimate.

There are a number of different reasons why a court may choose to grant an annulment. If either party was inebriated by drugs or alcohol when the marriage took place they can claim they weren’t of sound mind. Additionally, couples can claim they were coerced into the union, or that they were unaware of some aspect of their spouse (such as a criminal history or a child from a previous marriage). Incest will also render a marriage invalid, as will bigamy (which occurs when a person who is already married tries to take on another spouse).

There are also differences between a religious annulment and a legal one. Some faiths stipulate that people who are divorced are no longer able to remarry within the church. For this reason, a couple may seek to render their previous marriage invalid, so they can be free to marry again. However, just because a religious annulment has occurred doesn’t mean that it has a legal basis. In fact, legal annulments are extremely hard to obtain, even meeting the right criteria.

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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