Do I Need an Annulment or Divorce?

The end of a relationship is a complicated time. You are likely facing a wide variety of issues, such as getting a new place to live, changing careers, and considering what type of visitation or custody arrangement would be in your children’s best interest.  There are also a wide variety of choices that will have to be made in terms of logistics – will you need to ask for alimony? Will you and your partner or spouse be able to agree on visitation?  Who will pay the bills on your shared residence until it can be divided in a final hearing?  One of the questions that many clients will have is whether they need an annulment or a divorce.

Most people understand that a divorce will undo your marriage, thereby ending it.  However, many people do not understand that an annulment will complete the process that would make your marriage as if it never existed at all.  Some people have very particular beliefs about when and whether a divorce is ever appropriate, so those people may opt for an annulment to avoid the religious or social issues that could surround a divorce.

It is crucial to understand that seeking an annulment versus a divorce has very different rights for each of the parties, stemming from the fact that an annulment totally voids the marriage.  In an annulment, a court can still make custody and child support orders.  Moreover, a court can also make an order for alimony, if appropriate.  However, the court cannot make the same decisions about the parties’ property.  During a divorce, the court will make an equitable distribution of the parties’ debts and assets.  During an annulment, however, the courts cannot use the same list of statutory factors, and property division will be based on title inquiries, i.e., who can prove that they own the disputed property.

Moreover, unlike divorce, annulment is only available in limited circumstances.  To obtain an annulment, parties will need to allege and prove precise grounds, such as fraud, one of the parties was too young at the time of marriage, or the spouses are closely related.

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We have helped many clients make the right choices in their family law case.  Contact us today.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation

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