A Divorce Lawyer in Port Orchard WA Can Explain the Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment

by | Mar 8, 2016 | Legal Services

Annulment and divorce can both end a marriage, but there are differences to consider. A divorce is a legal dissolution of a marriage proven to exist, but an annulment occurs when the court declares that the marriage never happened at all. In this article, readers can learn more about the differences between divorce and annulment.

What is a Divorce?

As mentioned above, a divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. Divorces involve court decrees, and the end of the marriage means that spouses must settle financial details, determine child custody and visitation and divide marital assets.

What is an Annulment?

In some jurisdictions, annulments are called declarations of invalidity. In asking for an annulment, the petitioner requests that the court declare the marriage never occurred. An invalidity declaration related to an annulment is different than one used in a divorce, where the petitioner does agree on the legality of the marriage.

Divorce Grounds

In most places, an irrevocable breakdown of marital relations is the only reason needed for a divorce filing. In filing for divorce, the couple states that they cannot remain married to one another, and that they want a court decree that terminates the marriage. Here, there’s no need for either spouse’s Divorce Lawyer in Port Orchard Wato prove that the other caused the breakdown.

Annulment Grounds

By comparison, requesting an annulment is more difficult than asking for a divorce. Couples have several grounds that can be cited in declaring a marriage invalid.

 * Either spouse wasn’t old enough to get married

 * Bigamy (where either spouse was already married)

 * Marriages due to coercion or fraud

 * Either spouse’s mental inability to consent to marriage

There must be a solid legal reason for an annulment petition, and courts will not declare marriages invalid without significant evidence.

Filing for Annulment or Divorce

Clients can start the divorce process by filing a summons and petition for dissolution, along with other forms. The summons informs the other spouse of the upcoming divorce, and allows them to respond. For an annulment, the spouse must file a different type of petition, and they must offer legal grounds on which the annulment should be based. If one wants to end their marriage but isn’t sure whether to ask for an annulment or a divorce, they should talk to a Divorce Lawyer in Port Orchard Wa. An attorney can explain the differences between the two processes.

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