An annulment is a court proceeding that dissolves a marriage. In this way, annulment is like a divorce. But unlike divorce, annulments treat the dissolved marriage as though it had never occurred.

The grounds to have an annulment would require the following reasons to occur:

  • Fraud or misrepresentation of the marriage
  • Close relations between the spouses that violates the state's incest laws
  • One spouse is under the age of consent
  • One or both of the spouses were impaired or had an unsound mine at the time they entered marriage
  • Coercion or force
  • One spouse was already in another legal marriage at the time of marriage

Most annulments occur right after the marriage has begun or after a short period of time which makes the division of assets very simple.

What Are the Advantages of Annulment over Divorce?

For some people, getting divorced carries a negative connotation. Since annulment makes it so that the marriage never happened, this may be preferable for people who wish to remarry in their church, or for other personal or religious reasons.

How Long Can I Be Married and Still Get an Annulment?

There is generally no set time limit after which you cannot get a marriage annulled, but the grounds for annulment become harder to prove over time. Additionally, annulments are best suited for short marriages (usually weeks or months) because those unions generally do not involve joint assets to divide or children. 

What about Assets and Children?

Although an annulment deems the original marriage void and non-existent, children of annulled couples are not considered illegitimate. Most states also have provisions that deal with assets, debts or property division among annulled spouses. Since most annulments occur after a very short period of time after the spouses have entered the marriage (few weeks or months) there are usually no assets or debts that have to be divided. Many do not have any children, which makes no concern of any custody, visitation, and child support issues.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get an Annulment?

The court process for obtaining an annulment can be very confusing and stressful, so it may be wise to consult with a family attorney. Working with an experienced family lawyer will help you understand your rights and help protect your interests.