A marriage annulment is a legal procedure which states that a marriage has been dissolved. The main difference between an annulment and a divorce is that the annulment treats the marriage as it never happened in the first place. Some couples prefer annulling their marriage rather than getting a divorce, especially during the early stages of the marriage as it has lesser negative connotations associated with it. Annulment generally takes place when one of the two partners involved in the marriage discovers that the other partner had lied about his/her full identity or has an unfavorable past record.
There are two main types of annulment, civil and religious. Both types can be related to each other in cases where the couple want their marriage to get annulled on both religious as well as legal grounds. There can be a number of different reasons why a couple would want to get their marriage annulled and these reasons need to be legally proven in a court of law before the judge can take the final decision of annulment of the marriage. The finer annulment laws across the United States may differ to some extent from one state to another. However, there may be a few laws that are unique to a particular state.
Differences between Annulment and Divorce
Although both annulment and divorce signal the end of a marriage, there are significant differences between the two legal procedures in terms of how it is treated by the court. After an annulment, the marriage is treated as it never existed in the first place because it was not legal to begin with. On the other hand, in a divorce, the period when the couple were married is still recognized and the final date of the marriage is noted on legal records. While most cases of annulment take place few weeks or months after the marriage, divorces can even take place after a couple has been married for several years.
Chief reasons behind marriage annulment
A number of different reasons can cause the annulment of a marriage. Some of them have been explained below:
There are a few other grounds on which a person can file for annulment such as finding out that they have a blood relation with the spouse, forceful marriage or in instances of domestic violence.
The Catholic Church declares a marriage annulled if it does meet the predefined criteria set by them. If two catholic individuals get married outside a church, the marriage contract is considered defective by the church authorities. Similarly, other reasons such as forceful marriage or instances of multiple marriages by a single individual are considered defective and lead to annulment from the Catholic Church. One of the two partners has to petition to the Church to annul their marriage so that they can either remarry or continue living their lives as a single person. The Church authorities investigate the matter thoroughly and take a decision of either annulling the marriage or rejecting the annulment appeal. The general grounds of annulment considered by the Catholic Church are different from that of a court of law.
In case of civil annulments, one has to file a petition for annulments in a court of law and state the grounds on which they are seeking it. A number of forms and paperwork has to be filled during this process and after paying a filing fee the person will receive a hearing date which he/she has to attend.
Marriage annulment is often confused with divorce, however it differs from the latter not only in practical ways, but also in terms of legal procedures and laws.
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