Annulment and divorce is the same in that they are both a court procedure which dissolves a marriage. Unlike a divorce, an annulment makes it as if the marriage never happened in the eyes of the state. Some people might choose an annulment because they feel as if divorce carries a stigma; others may choose annulment for religious reasons, because it may be easier for them to remarry in their church if they have the marriage annulled. There are two types of annulment.
The first type is civil annulment, which is granted by the state government after the court proceedings. For an annulment to be possible, there has to be something that rendered the marriage invalid. Civil annulment has different requirements in each state, but usually there must be at least one of the following reasons to have grounds for a civil annulment.
No consummation of the marriage. Consummation of the marriage happens when you engage in sexual intercourse with your spouse. If one spouse is unable to have sexual intercourse for some reason, and the other spouse was unaware of this when they got married, then that can be grounds for a civil annulment.
Fraud or misrepresentation. If one spouse lies about or conceals something that is an essential aspect of the marriage, such as the ability to have children, then it could be grounds for annulment.
Incest. This means that the spouses are too closely related by blood, so that their marriage is illegal in the eyes of the state.
- Underage. One of the spouses is under the age of consent.
- Force. One of the spouses was unwillingly coerced into the marriage.
- Bigamy. This is when, at the time of the marriage, one of the spouses was still legally married to another person.
- Unsound mind. One or both of the spouses didn’t have the mental capacity to understand and give consent to the marriage, due to either impairment from drugs, alcohol or some other factor.
Annulments usually take place after a very short marriage. In some cases there no assets to divide, or child custody and support issues to consider. In cases where a long-term marriage is annulled, states usually have provisions for dividing assets and determining custody, support, and alimony.