What’s the Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce? 

You are considering ending your marriage, but you are unsure what method to use. Both annulment and divorce will accomplish this for you, ending your marriage legally. However, there is a significant amount of difference between an annulment and a divorce, including in the premise and the result.

At Martin Family Law Group, our Los Angeles divorce lawyer can help you determine the best method for your situation.

Divorce and Annulment

In 2021, the divorce rate was 2.5 per 1,000 people across the country. Divorce is common, but annulment is not.

In either situation, the goal is to end the marriage. In a divorce, this simply means “not being married any longer.” In an annulment, the premise is to erase the marriage fully, meaning that anything that occurred during the marriage is null and void. In short, in this area, you want the outcome to be “the marriage did not happen at all.”

Now, it is not possible to pursue annulment at any time, but rather, you must show that there is some grounds for the annulment based on the legality or validity of it. The marriage was not legal or proper in some manner.

In California, there are several types of scenarios considered void or voidable annulment reasons, including:

  • Bigamy (one party was already married at the time of the marriage)
  • Fraud
  • One of both parties agree that one party was not of sound mind (a wedding at the last minute while intoxicated, for example)
  • Minority, meaning one party was under the age of 18 years old

It can be complex to prove annulment, which is why having an attorney by your side to do so is critical. In situations where it is a valid method of ending the marriage, it can be critical to establishing a strong future.

By contrast, divorce can happen in any situation and can occur no matter the circumstances. Because it is a no-fault state, California does not require that there be legal grounds for a divorce to occur. Simply, you must file for divorce and wait for the finalizing of the documents.

How This Impacts the Outcome of a Divorce

In a divorce, all property that is built during the marriage is divided by the court in a fair manner. However, in an annulment, the court must decide more fully what this division should be based on the circumstances of the case.

A common mistake to avoid is believing that an annulment will be a simple and straightforward process. It may seem like this because the marriage was illegal in some way and, therefore, should not have happened. However, it is possible for one party to pursue the other for support. Both parties could also claim property rights.

Let Our Legal Team Go to Work for You Now

The best way to determine the difference between annulment and divorce in your particular situation is to contact a divorce attorney in CA for a consultation. At Martin Family Law Group, we are here to help you. Set up a free consultation now.