Not all relationships succeed; sometimes, happy endings exist only in fairy tales and movies. If you and your spouse are going through a difficult time and are considering ending your marriage, you need to know what legal options are available to you in Florida. Annulment vs. Divorce comes up often with couples.
Divorce and annulment are two options that can work for you depending on your circumstances.
What is an Annulment?
An annulment is used to dissolve a marriage in specific situations. From the standpoint of the law, an annulment renders the marriage void and invalid, discarding it from the legal record. Because of this, grounds for annulment are very restrictive. A spouse must prove to the court that the marriage wasn’t valid from the start, such as both parties being unable to make a sound decision due to intoxication. An annulment may also be granted if one of the partners withheld essential information, such as still being married to another person or being underage.
What is a Divorce?
Divorce ends a marriage while still maintaining that the marriage was legal in the past. When a judge approves of a divorce, the records and consequences of the marriage don’t disappear. Former spouses must deal with a number of important effects related to the end of their marriage, such as dividing mutual property fairly and fulfilling child custody obligations.
Methods of Getting an Annulment vs. Divorce
Both a divorce and an annulment must be granted by the courts. Although both procedures present a number of obstacles, you may have an uphill battle in an annulment case depending on your situation. For example, some petitioners seek to annul a marriage because it was not consummated. If you and your spouse have been living together for a number of years, it may be difficult to prove this to the court. In straightforward cases, such as those involving underage partners, getting a marriage annulled may be easier.
The Impact of an Annulment vs. Divorce
Divorces and annulments share some of the same consequences, including allowing the parties to legally marry other partners. In both cases, the court will also need to work through a number of important considerations, including child custody. In Florida, annulments typically do not result in alimony payments or any of the other property rights normally afforded to former spouses; most courts allow the former spouses to divide their property on their own after an annulment. Many successful annulment cases occur early in the marriage, minimizing the need for the court to mediate thorny issues of child custody or property division.
Find out if you qualify for a marriage annulment.
The impact of the end of a marriage is also an important consideration in some religions. For example, the Catholic Church does not recognize divorce or annulments granted by a court. Adherents must go through a separate path to obtain a Catholic Church annulment after securing a legal annulment.
Contact Cheshire Family Law at (561) 677-8090 or use our Family Law Questions form on the website if you an unsure of whether an annulment or divorce is right for your situation. We have been helping Florida families for over 20 years to solve their difficult legal problems for years.