While most people are familiar with divorce, many are unaware of annulment. An annulment states that a marriage never legally happened. Although it is more difficult to qualify for an annulment than a divorce, an annulment makes sense in some situations. Let’s take a closer look at what an annulment is and how it differs from a divorce.
Anyone may file for divorce. Annulments, however, are only an option for couples that meet certain criteria. Your marriage may qualify for annulment if:
• You or your spouse could not consent to the marriage due to a mental disability, alcohol, drugs, or fraud.
• You or your spouse did not have the ability to engage in sexual intercourse during the marriage.
• Your or your spouse were under 18 years of age and there was no parental consent at the time of your marriage.
• Your marriage was not legal because you or your spouse was already married or you are relatives.
There is also a time limit for when you can request an annulment. This time limit depends on your particular circumstances.
• If you or your spouse did not consent to marriage because of mental disability, alcohol or drugs, you have 90 days from the time this was discovered to file for an annulment.
• A parent has the right to file for an annulment of their minor child’s marriage any time before they turn 18.
• If you or your spouse did not have the ability to engage in sexual intercourse and this was not known at the time of marriage, you have one year to file for an annulment.
• If you or your spouse were involved in multiple marriages, there is no time limit for an annulment.
How Annulment Differs From Divorce
Even though an annulment establishes that a marriage never took place, it offers the same end result as a divorce: the legal end to a marriage. However, in an annulment, there is no property division or alimony because the marriage is deemed to never have existed.
If your marriage was short, this may not have any impact on you. In the event your marriage lasted for a longer time frame, you may be missing out on your right to assets accumulated during your marriage. It is important to note that if you had children during your marriage, child custody, visitation and child support still apply because an annulment does not negate their legitimacy.
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