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Filing for Divorce or Annulment?

For whatever reason, you have decided it is time to end your marriage. Whether you and your spouse have been together for a week or for years, there is something not working and you are convinced that life will be much better on your own. For the average person, when they seek to terminate a marriage divorce is the obvious option. However, there are some circumstances which allow for what the courts call an "annulment" of marriage. Perhaps you learned your spouse cheated on you, and you decide parting ways is better than reconciliation. If this is the case, a divorce will most likely be the option you would choose; a legal termination of the marriage union. Where an annulment differs, is that it goes one step further than a divorce. An annulment considers the union "null and void" in the eyes of the law, or as though it never existed in the first place. There are two different categories of annulment a person may file for: civil and religious.

In the confines of a civil or state government annulment, there are certain grounds which must be met in order for the state to consider your marriage as void. For example, if you learn that your spouse lied about their ability to procreate, or you discover later on they are additionally married to another person, you may have grounds for an annulment. When a spouse conceals certain aspects of their life, this too may be considered a valid reason. Factors such as an addiction to drugs or alcohol, impotency, lying about a past criminal conviction or having a sexually transmitted disease would likely be considered reasonable grounds to the court. In the event you and your spouse have your wedding ceremony and then for some reason one refuses to consummate the marriage, this would be considered reasonable grounds for annulment as well. In most circumstances, a civil annulment will occur within the beginning phases of the marriage; the longer you wait, the less of a chance the court will grant your request to have the marriage deemed void.

The second category for annulment is for religious purposes, usually within the Catholic Church, and is different than that of the state. In most cases, if a couple seeks to marry within the Catholic Church, and one spouse was previously married, they must seek a religious annulment before their new marriage with be recognized by the church as legitimate. Religious annulments may also be sought even if the individual is not planning to remarry; though in most cases that is the cause. As stated, the process of a religious annulment is different than that of the state as it is done within the church rather than the court. However, in order for this process to occur, the church requires that a civil divorce take place by the courts before the religious annulment.

In the event you are ready to end your marriage, you may decide that annulment is best for you because you fall under one of the above categories. Whether you decide that a divorce or annulment is best for you and your spouse, contact Cutter & Lax today for the Burbank divorce lawyer you deserve on your side. At our firm, we will walk with you every step of the way to help you separate from your spouse and work through the settlement in a way that is best for you. Working through a settlement is required for both a divorce and annulment, and our legal team is prepared to aid you in that process.Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you!

Categories: Family Law, Annulment, Divorce


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