Family Law: What You Know About Getting An Annulment

When you decide to end your marriage, your two main options are annulment and divorce. Depending on certain circumstances, you might be able to get the process done much more quickly and easily by choosing an annulment instead of a traditional divorce, or dissolution of marriage. Here are some things to know about annulment.

Who can get an annulment?

While the specific requirements for getting an annulment vary based on your county or state, there are some standards that the majority of courts look for. For example, if you have only been married for a short period of time, annulment is often recommended over a divorce. Divorce can be expensive and time-consuming, so it isn't always necessary when you have had a short marriage and don't have any children together. Additional reasons to consider an annulment are:

  • Forced consent to marry
  • Evidence of fraud by your spouse
  • Domestic abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Underage marriage
  • Substance abuse
  • Inability to consummate

How do you get an annulment?

The first documents you get when filing an annulment are similar to when you get a divorce. With an annulment, you need to get the paperwork from your local court and fill them out. Be thorough and truthful, as lying on these documents are reasons to deny the annulment, which would require going through a full dissolution of marriage. Explain the reasons why you are requesting an annulment, such as because your spouse couldn't consummate the marriage or you found evidence of illegal narcotics in your home.

Turn in your completed forms with any required identification and schedule a court date. To get an annulment, you and your spouse must be present to speak with the judge. The judge looks over your paperwork, speaks to both of you, and decides if you qualify for the annulment.

Should you choose an annulment or divorce?

If you have been married for a short period of time, have no children together, and no communal property, annulment is a good option. It is a much simpler process and doesn't require as much paperwork. There should also be no custody battles involved. However, if you have shared property, pets or children together, it is best to request a dissolution of marriage, whether it is a fault or no-fault divorce.

When you aren't sure which is best, talking to a professional divorce attorney, like Karen Amacker Attorney, is recommended. They can help you decide between an annulment and divorce, and help you with the required paperwork.