Divorce and annulment. Those are two words that seem similar on first glance. After all, if you get a divorce or an annulment, you are declaring that your marriage is over, right? Why is there any need for distinction, then? Well, divorce and annulment are different, and your legal marital status will differ after a divorce compared to an annulment. This will help you understand the distinction between the two as well as the different types of annulments.
What Annulment Means
A divorce means both parties acknowledged they were married and now want to end that marriage. Annulment, on the other hand, effectively declares a marriage as being null and void. With an annulment, it is meant to essentially make it as though the marriage had never occurred.
Why People Get Annulments
An annulment is considered for different reasons, one being religion. For instance, in the Roman Catholic Church, divorce is considered to be a sin. However, religious annulments are provided as a means of voiding a marriage through a church.
Reasons for annulments can vary and so can the timing. An annulment is typically expected to occur shortly after marriage, but religious annulments have been known to happen after years of being married.
Religious vs. Civil Annulment
Annulment is not the same as divorce, and there are different types of annulments as well. The two types of annulments are religious and civil. A religious annulment will end your marriage, but only through the eyes of the church. In the eyes of a legal court, you are still married. You aren’t classified as single or divorced after a religious annulment. In the eyes of the court, it will be as though your marriage was never ended.
However, you can still receive a civil annulment that will void your marriage legally the same way a church annulment would void it religiously. There are certain grounds for annulment in civil court that must be followed.
How to Get a Civil Annulment
In order to obtain a civil annulment, the grounds for doing so are fairly straightforward. Most courts will grant an annulment if the illegitimacy of the marriage can be easily proven. For instance, if a marriage occurs when one or both people were intoxicated or otherwise unable to understand and consent to what was happening, an annulment is much more likely. Similarly, if the marriage was not done out of mutual agreement, i.e., someone was forced, an annulment should also be granted.
If the marriage itself is illegal, then an annulment is all but guaranteed. For instance, if one of the people married is underage, or in cases of incest (both parties are related to each other) or bigamy or polygamy (someone having two wives or more), an annulment will be granted.
A civil annulment can also be obtained in the case of a non-consummated marriage, wherein no sexual intercourse has occurred. Also, if the marriage is based on fraudulent claims made by one of the parties involved, then the other party should be able to obtain an annulment.
After a religious annulment, your marriage will be null and void, but not through the eyes of the court. Legally speaking, you must obtain a civil annulment if you want to have the marriage voided from your record. We are a law firm that specializes in divorce cases of all sorts. If you need more information about the process of getting a divorce or a civil annulment, please send us a message or give us a call as soon as possible.