Annulment vs. Divorce: Understanding the Differences

By John Anthony Ward on September 28, 2019


Definition of the word divorceNot all marriages are sustainable. Sometimes it’s best for both parties to dissolve their marriage and move on with their lives. While you could simply get a divorce, you may also be able to have your marriage annulled. These two ways of ending a marriage differ in key ways, and one option may be more ideal than another.

Attorney John Anthony Ward would like to cover some of the basic differences between divorce and annulment. We can determine which is right for you and your situation when you visit our Kenosha, WI law firm.

About Divorce

A divorce is the legal end of a marriage before the death of a spouse. When divorces are finalized in court, the spouses are no longer married or legally bound to one another. They are thus able to remarry or enter into a domestic partnership with someone else. Disputes over child custody, child support, and alimony are typically determined in the divorce proceedings.

About Annulment

An annulment is a court ruling that invalidates a marriage, rendering it null and void. In other words, an annulment makes it so that a marriage has legally never occurred. Like divorce proceedings, child custody, child support, and alimony may be discussed during the annulment process if and when necessary.

Grounds for an Annulment

There are numerous grounds for finding a marriage invalid. Some examples of grounds for annulment we’ve seen in the Kenosha area include:

  • Incest
  • Bigamy
  • Coercion into marriage
  • Fraud leading into marriage
  • Marriage before the age of consent
  • Marriage to someone already married
  • Marriage while intoxicated
  • A spouse has concealed information that would impact the decision of the other spouse regarding marriage

As you notice in all of the above cases, one or both spouses are unable to consider the nature of their marriage, are forced into getting married, or the marriage is not legal due to state or federal laws.

Why Get an Annulment Instead of a Divorce?

If you were unable to render consent or were forced or fooled into entering a marriage, you should seek an annulment. When the grounds for a marriage are not valid, then the marriage itself should not be recognized as valid either.

Since these deceptions and issues are often discovered early on in a marriage, there may not be need to divide property between spouses depending on the nature of what occurred and when crucial information about a spouse is revealed.

Should I Get a Divorce or an Annulment?

That depends. The circumstances underlying the marriage will determine the best way to proceed, which is why it’s crucially important to speak with an attorney. Having a skilled family law attorney on your side can be essential in protecting you and your family from harm and being taken advantage of during this process.

We can go over the facts of your case and help you figure out the ideal manner of dissolving your marriage. We can back you up and help negotiate the best terms for ending the marriage.

Speak with a Family Law Attorney

For more information about divorce, annulment, and other matters related to ending a marriage, be sure to contact a skilled family law attorney. John Anthony Ward can be reached in Kenosha at (262) 671-8692.

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