When a couple decides to end their marriage, they may immediately think of the divorce process. However, they can also consider requesting an annulment and there is information available about this process.
When a couple pursues an annulment, they are asking the court to recognize that the marriage was never valid. Although each couple’s circumstances are different, there are some general situations where a court will grant an annulment.
If one or both of the parties were not able to knowingly and willingly consent to the marriage, the court may grant an annulment. Also, if one spouse misrepresented information to fraudulently induce the other spouse to marry him or her, that may also be a reason for annulment.
Courts also may order an annulment where one spouse was threatened or forced into the marriage against his or her will, where one spouse was already married when the marriage took place and where the parties entered the marriage with no intent to make it binding.
Differences from divorce
A divorce is different from an annulment. When a couple requests a divorce, the law recognizes that the couple was married previously, instead of that the marriage never existed.
Once an annulment is granted by the court, each spouse can re-marry without going through the divorce process. However, an annulment may affect the spouses’ marital property rights, rights to each other’s estates and financial support like alimony.
An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance and advice to determine whether an annulment or divorce may be the right option.