Divorce or Annulment: Which Option Is Best For You?

Annulment vs Divorce

Do you feel stuck at a crossroads between annulment and divorce?

This situation is more common than you may believe. Additionally, it is full of complex feelings and an even more intricate legal process.

The steps you take next can dramatically affect your future — legally, emotionally, and financially. Regardless of where you are in the process, this guide will help you navigate this challenging process. Find the confidence you need and ask us for a referral to a local attorney today.

Divorce Process

Most states allow you to obtain a no-fault divorce. This legal process only requires that you assert your marriage is irretrievably broken. Alternatively, you can claim that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences.

Other states still base divorces on fault. In this circumstance, your divorce petition alleges that your spouse did something that justifies ending the marriage. Common grounds that petitioners cite include the following:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Criminal convictions or incarceration
  • Inflicting physical or emotional pain
  • Serious drug or alcohol abuse
  • Gambling addiction

Your spouse can challenge your divorce petition by defending against the alleged faults. Also, they can file a separate petition with the court system. In either event, the judge grants the divorce to whichever spouse has the most liability.

Civil Annulment Process

Each state, like divorce, has its own annulment laws. They are usually quite strict and specific about what you must prove. Common grounds for a civil annulment include the following:

  • You or your spouse were underage.
  • One of you was forced by the other into the marriage or lacked the mental capacity to consent.
  • Your spouse committed bigamy.
  • There was a fraudulent inducement into the marriage.
  • You did not know important facts, such as your spouse did not want children.
  • You are closely related to each other.

Religious Annulment Process

There are two kinds of annulments: civil and religious. For example, if you are Catholic, a civil annulment doesn’t make things right with the church. You will need to obtain a religious annulment from your diocesan tribunal. This step is necessary to participate in Church rituals and to marry someone else.

Talk to your parish priest about the tribunal annulment process. They will share what you will need to prove. Generally, you will need witnesses to help you demonstrate why your marriage was invalid from the start.

Keep in mind that the state does not recognize a religious annulment. You still have a legal marriage if you obtain a tribunal annulment.

Why You Need a Lawyer for a Divorce or Civil Annulment

Your first step to obtaining a divorce or civil annulment is to contact a local family attorney. Theoretically, you can file a petition yourself without representation. But this action can be a bad idea. Maintaining compliance can be nearly impossible unless you are an expert in state legislation.

For instance, some states require that you meet the residency requirement before you can take action. Alternatively, you may have to live apart for a specific period before filing with the court system.

Other jurisdictions are community property states where you must divide your marital assets equally. Consequently, if you and your spouse have accumulated wealth, you need the sound advice of an experienced attorney. They’ll help you adhere to state law and get the best possible settlement agreement.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer

The path forward is not easy whether you pursue an annulment or a divorce. It’s fraught with complexities and decisions that have far-reaching implications. However, the more knowledge you possess about each process, the more empowered you are to make the right decision. Don’t navigate this journey alone. A qualified legal professional can provide the guidance, clarity, and peace of mind you need. Ask us for a referral to a local attorney today online or call (866) 345-6784.

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