What is the Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment?

Most people understand that a divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage, but how does an annulment fit it into the picture?

Divorce lawyersWhile it’s true that a divorce and an annulment are legal ways to dissolve a marriage, there is a major difference between the two, and that is the fact that a divorce ends a legally valid marriage, whereas an annulment ends a marriage that was never legally valid.

What Are the Grounds For An Annulment Instead of a Divorce?

 Either party in a marriage can petition for an annulment as long as the person has the legal grounds to do so.

An annulment petition is a request to have a marriage legally cancelled, because the conditions upon which the marriage is based are invalid.

In Florida, some common grounds to request an annulment include:

  • Fraud – One spouse married the other believing something that wasn’t true, which would constitute fraud and invalidate the marriage.
  • Blood Relation – The couple is related by blood
  • Impairment – One spouse got married while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and was unable to make a reasonable decision to marry under those circumstances. However, if that spouse agrees to s sexual relationship after the marriage ceremony, that would eliminate impairment as grounds for the annulment.
  • Coercion – One spouse or both spouses were coerced into the marriage
  • Lack of Parental Consent – If the couple is under the age of consent, which is 18 in many states, then they would have needed parental consent to marry. If their parents did not give consent, then the marriage would not be considered valid.
  • Impotence – A spouse is impotent, but never disclosed this fact to the other person prior to the wedding.
  • Lack of Mental Competence – One member of the couple suffers from a mental health issue that made it difficult for that person to give proper consent to the marriage.
  • Bigamy – One or both people in the marriage were previously married, and that marriage was not terminated prior to the most recent wedding ceremony. 

If you petition for an annulment in Florida, you must provide evidence for whatever grounds you are using to annul the marriage.

For example, if you are using bigamy as the grounds for your annulment, you must show your partner’s other marriage certificate to prove your claim.

Help With Your Divorce 

If you’re going through a divorce, or you think you are eligible for an annulment based on the legal standards, you need to hire an experienced family lawyer who has expertise in many issues related to a divorce, including an annulment. But experience by itself isn’t enough, because a family law firm that doesn’t have a track record of success is a firm that won’t inspire much confidence when it comes to getting you what you need in a divorce.

The Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson has skilled attorneys that can help you navigate through the challenges of a divorce or annulment. Don’t trust your financial or emotional well being to a law firm that can’t get the job done. Call us today at 321-253-3771 for a free legal consultation.

Additional Reading

Divorce and Infidelity: Understanding How An Affair Can Impact Divorce Proceedings

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Divorce in Florida?

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