Divorce and legal annulment: what’s the difference?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2022 | Divorce |

If you’ve made the decision to legally end your marriage, you can choose from divorce or annulment to complete this process. There are distinct differences between annulment and divorce. If you’re a New York resident, here are some things to keep in mind to determine which option is best for you.

Divorce vs annulment

The main difference between a divorce an annulment is that divorce is the act of legally ending a valid marriage. Annulment, on the other hand, declares that the marriage was never legally valid.

When an individual gets divorced, they are legally declared single. When a person gets an annulment, the marriage is rendered null and void and the marriage is “erased” even though the marriage records will still be on file.

Legal grounds for divorces and annulments

“Grounds” are the justification for legal action. There are different reasons people choose a divorce as opposed to an annulment. However, people pursue one of these two options because they want to end the marriage.

There are several grounds for divorce including abandonment, infidelity, or incarceration. If the divorce is considered ‘no-fault’ this means that both parties have cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for their divorce.

An annulment will legally end the marriage if at least one spouse believes the marriage never should have happened. For instance, if one or both parties were tricked or forced into marrying or if the marriage was incestuous, these are grounds for annulment. The courts may also annul the marriage if one or both spouses were underage at the time of the marriage or if either party was unable to make a logical decision to marry due to drugs, alcohol, or mental disability. Couples will have to prove the grounds for their annulment before a judge will grant the request.