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Divorce vs. annulment: What’s the difference?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2022 | family law |

Couples who want to legally end their marriages can decide to have the marriage annulled or get a divorce. There are distinct differences between these two options, but they will both allow the involved parties to be declared single once the process is complete. If you live in Maryland, here are some important things you should know about annulment and divorce.

What is a divorce?

A divorce is classified as a legal termination of a marriage. The process ends a valid marriage, and both parties have acknowledged the marriage. Once a legal marriage is over, both parties are declared single.

What is an annulment?

Couples can request an annulment if one or both parties feel that the marriage should not be legally binding because it never should have occurred in the first place. The courts can erase the marriage, but it will still remain on file at the courthouse in the county where the marriage took place.

Some couples may want to get an annulment instead of a divorce for religious reasons. Some religions do not condone divorce, so an annulment can be seen as a legal loophole. However, it is important to note that a religious annulment does not legally dissolve a marriage.

Legal grounds for annulment or divorce

The grounds for a divorce or annulment are the legitimate reasons that a judge would grant either of these rulings for people who want to end their marriages. Legal grounds for a divorce can include abandonment, drug or alcohol abuse, or infidelity. Legal grounds for annulment include one or both spouses being forced into the marriage or proof that one or both spouses were not capable of making a logical decision to marry based on mental disability or substance use.

Once the divorce or annulment is complete, the annulment will allow the involved parties to live as though the marriage never happened. However, divorced couples may still have to divide assets and pay spousal or child support to their former spouses.



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