The toughest part of a relationship could be knowing how and when to end it. When individuals in a marital relationship realize that they no longer want to remain legally married, there are usually two ways to cut the bond – divorce and annulment. Though everyone may not be eligible for an annulment, there are certain reasons why it is preferable.
Grounds for Annulment
Since annulment requires specific legitimate grounds, individuals cannot freely choose whether to get a divorce or annulthe marriage. Depending on the statutory laws, some states may only allow an annulment if there is an underage or incompetent spouse, bigamy, fraud or the marriage was coerced.
Legal Effect of an Annulment
Annulment completely voids the marriage as though it never existed. However, it generally affects neither the legitimacy nor the paternity of a child born during the marriage.
Matters Involved in Annulment Proceedings
There are fewer concerns to deal with in an annulment because it typically acts as if the marriage never happened. Consequently, the court may also not deal with complex property disputes which can take years to settle. Hence, an annulment can be a quicker way to repeal a marriage with fewer issues to resolve.
However, statutory laws in some states may still require other matters to be heard. Also, certain legal complications may arise when in pursuit of an annulment. For example, a thorough investigation into matters concerning the marriage may take additional time and resources.
Social Implications of an Annulment
An individual may try to annul a marriage on one or more legitimate grounds to avoid the negative social stigma attached to divorce. Annulment is also a preferable option compared to divorce which is usually frowned upon by the church or other religious institutions.
Advantages of Annulment
Getting a marriage annulled instead of terminating it through a divorce is advantageous in some situations, e.g. an annulment may protect an individual’s property. In states where spousal support award is not granted in annulment cases, a person can potentially avoid such a judgement.
An annulment may also help an individual receive benefits to which he/she was previously eligible, which may not have been restored had the individual simply divorced.
It is crucial to consult a specialist, experienced family law attorney who can make the distinction between getting a divorce or annulment clearer when considering the two options. Also, the legal practitioner can describe the pros and cons of each approach,thereby helping clients determine which option would be in their best interest.