Annulment vs. Divorce

There are two legal methods for ending a marriage, an annulment which can declare the marriage void or a divorce which can just dissolve the marital contract.  Most people know that an annulment is because some religions frown upon divorce.  Although they seem to accomplish the same result,  what are the other differences between the two?

The issues that can be used as grounds for an annulment are different from the grounds for divorce.  To receive an annulment, problems must exist before the marriage including being underage and unable to consent, being coerced into the marriage or by the concealment of information such as being married already or having an addiction.  Typical grounds for divorce occur during the marriage such as incompatibility, infidelity, domestic abuse and irreconcilable differences.

To be eligible for an annulment, there are other conditions which must exist.  Since the grounds for annulment are present prior to the marriage ceremony, the marriage itself must be short in duration.  If there are children from the marriage, an annulment will be treated like a divorce for the following reasons.

Since an annulment essentially “erases” a marriage, the procedural aspects covered during a divorce are not reviewed in an annulment.  Since the marriage no longer existed then the division of property tries to return assets and property to their separate owners as they were before the wedding.  In a divorce, the divorce court decides how to divide the marital assets .  There is no alimony or spousal support awarded in an annulment either.

An annulment is pretty difficult to obtain but can save the spouse with more assets a lot of money.  If you are considering divorcing your spouse, it is integral to have the support of a legal professional.  Contact an experienced divorce attorney in Hinsdale to guide you through the divorce process.

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