Annulment Or Divorce? What To Know

Posted on: 5 February 2016


If you've already realized that your recent marriage was a big mistake, you may be wondering if an annulment is the right option to part ways with your spouse. You've no doubt heard about various celebrities getting annulments instead of divorces. Perhaps you are interested in getting an annulment because of religious reasons. Can an annulment provide a quicker and easier way to divorce? To learn more about annulments and to help you understand if its right for you, read on.

What Are Annulments?

An annulment is not just a divorce alternative; it actually allows the participants to attest that no marriage ever existed, at least legally. Annulments came about as a solution for ending relationships where certain religions forbade, or didn't recognize, divorce. For example, the Catholic church does not recognize divorce, regardless of the grounds. An annulment provides an acceptable method of parting, as least as far at the church stands.

Annulment Grounds

Unlike no-fault divorce, where couples can separate without giving a reason, an annulment requires a reason, or grounds. In spite of the connection between religion and annulments, it is interesting to note that religious purposes is not one of the legally acceptable grounds for annulments in the United States. The following are legally-sanctioned grounds for annulments:

*Forced Consent: Due force was used to force the marriage by one party or an outside party (such as a parent).

*Fraud: Deception was used by one party to compel the other party to marry.

*Prohibited by Law: Incestuous relationships between the parties.

*Bigamy: At least one party was already legally married to another person.

*Incapacitation: At least one party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of marriage.

*Mental Illness by at least one party.

*No Consummation: Physical sexual intercourse never occurred.

*Minor Child: The age of consent varies by state.

Other Options

As you can see, the grounds for annulments are narrowly defined and constitute relatively rare occurrences. If you cannot meet the legal qualifications for annulment, you may still be able to get a quicker and easier divorce. In no-fault states you can end your marriage by both parties pleading irreconcilable differences. This results in an uncontested divorce, which can often be much quicker and less expensive than going to court. In some states, a summary or simplified divorce is available for couples with no minor children, no debt, and little to no property.

Whether you believe your circumstances can qualify you for an annulment or you just want to get the quickest and easiest divorce possible, contact a family law attorney for more assistance. 

For a divorce lawyer, contact a law firm such as Tolman Kirk Clucas PLLC.