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What's the difference between an annulment and a divorce?

What's the difference between an annulment and a divorce?

Posted By Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo || 13-Apr-2015

When considering ending your marriage, it is important to know that you have a variety of legal options for doing so. Two of those options include divorce and annulment. When a marriage is annulled, it is legally considered to have never existed in the first place, whereas a divorce simply ends it.

While there are many simlarities between annulments and a divorce, our Tampa divorce lawyer want you to know that there is one key difference that must be considered. A couple can get a divorce in Florida without providing grounds or proving fault, but it is required to prove grounds to obtain an annulment.

Grounds for an annulment include:

  • If one spouse committed fraud, or concealed something that was crucial to the marriage
  • The marriage took place when one or both spouses was of an unsound mind, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and unable to properly consent
  • One spouse is underage and not legally able to consent
  • One spouse is physically unable to consummate the marriage
  • One spouse was forced into the marriage
  • One spouse was legally married to another
  • The spouses are too closely blood-related

Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss whether or not you qualify for an annulmnet.


It is a misconception that a couple can only obtain an annulment shortly after the marriage took place. However, while most annulments take place within the first few weeks of a marriage, there is no legal time limit. A couple can choose between an annulment and a divorce at any point in their marriage, and all legal decisions regarding property and children will be made in the same way. In fact, there is very little legal difference between the processes of annulling and divorcing. So why get an annulment?

Some of the most common reasons that people get annulments include:

  • The wedding was a sham – it happens all too often that two people consume a little too much alcohol and find themselves married the next morning. Annulments allow these individuals to reclaim their single status as though it never happened. Thus, an annulment is essentially the reversal of a mistake and a clean slate to move forward.
  • The couple is religious – divorce carries a negative stigma in society, especially among those who are religious. Some religions highly frown upon divorce, so couples often choose to get their marriage annulled to appease their religious tenants. This leaves them free to marry in the church again.
  • Spouses want to avoid alimony payments – after a divorce, alimony payments are often made from one spouse to the other in order to ensure that both parties maintain the standard of living that was established in the marriage. Since an annulment treats a marriage as though it never existed, there is legally no “standard of living” and no obligation for support payments.

Ultimately, whether or not an annulment is right for ending your marriage is up to you, but you do need to be able to prove legitimate grounds. Having the right divorce attorney on your side can make the process easier, smoother, and faster. No matter what your circumstances are, you can trust the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo to provide compassionate legal representation every step of the way.

Ready to get started? Give us a call today!

Categories: Divorce

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