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What is the Difference between Annulment and Divorce?

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Sometimes, married couples end up facing difficult issues that have become impossible to resolve. These couples often come to a decision and agree that they have to go their separate ways. When this happens, a couple can consider a few legal options to officially end their marriage. One option is going through a divorce. Another is filing for an annulment.

According to the website of the Arenson Law Group, PC divorce attorneys in Cedar Rapids IA, an annulment is generally a legal procedure that allows a marriage to be declared null and void. In other words, couples who file for an annulment are found as if they have never been married after the process is over and can legally declare their civil status as “single”. In comparison, a person who went through divorce proceedings will have to identify as “divorced”. The main reason most couples choose this option is because of religions considerations. There are some religions, like Roman Catholicism, that prohibit sanctioning divorce or remarrying. Couples can obtain an annulment within their own religious institutions, but they will also need to undergo the civil procedure in court in order for their marriage to be absolved in the eyes of the law.

Because an annulment declares a couple’s marriage to basically be without value or effect, being granted a positive decision by the court will require notable circumstances. In particular, most states in the United States grant annulments in cases that involve fraud or misrepresentation, if a spouse had been forced into marriage, and if the marriage involved incest, bigamy, or a spouse that was underage at the time of the wedding. Courts also allow annulments for cases where one or both spouses had not been in sound mental capacity during the wedding—like if they were impaired by alcohol or drugs. Marriages that have not been consummated can also be dissolved through annulment, especially if the other spouse had not been made aware of the other’s inability to have sexual intercourse.

Considering these scenarios, it’s easy to see that an annulment might not be the best choice for most couples looking to end their marriage. For others, divorce seems to be a more suitable and accessible option. You can contact a qualified divorce lawyer in your area to learn more about the best solution for your given situation.

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