While divorce and annulment are similar in the sense that they spell the end to a marriage, there are significant legal differences between the two. Understanding these differences is crucial if you believe you may qualify for an annulment, which entails meeting certain, usually rigid, criteria. VeryWellMind.com offers the following information so you can determine whether an annulment is right for you.
When people divorce the court must determine which property and assets are considered shared and divide them accordingly. This is not the case with annulments, which are afforded when the preceding marriage is deemed invalid for one or more reasons. As a result, the court will attempt to restore each party’s prior financial standing without taking into account any shared assets. A couple receiving an annulment would also not be eligible for spousal support.
Reasons an annulment can be obtained
There are a number of reasons why a marriage may be considered invalid. For instance, if a person is currently married he or she would not be permitted to marry another person (this is known as bigamy). Keeping certain facts about your life concealed from your spouse prior to the marriage can also be grounds for an annulment. This can include everything from a past criminal background to children from previous marriage. If one or both spouses were coerced into marriage or were inebriated at the time their nuptials took place, they may also be eligible for an annulment.
Some religions stipulate that people who are divorced cannot remarry, which is why many annulments are sought. However, a religious annulment does not necessarily have any bearing on legal matters. A couple may have their union annulled according to their religion but still be considered marriage in the eyes of the law. Legal annulments are extremely hard to obtain, even when of the above factors plays a role.