How are annulment and divorce different?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2022 | Firm News |

If you are a New Hampshire resident who wants to end your marriage, you have two options to consider: divorce or annulment. While both options technically end the marriage, they do so under different circumstances and are available for different situations.

Divorce and annulment: the definitions

The first difference between divorce and annulment is the definition of each term. When a couple chooses to divorce, they are seeking the end of a legal marriage. Once the marriage is dissolved, the ex-spouses are considered single. In contrast, when couples seek an annulment, they are asking the court to state that the marriage did not legally exist, even though the record of the marriage will remain available.

When can you choose an annulment?

Another difference between the two is related to why and when the option is available. Normally, annulments are sought during short-term marriages, and in some states, long-term marriages cannot seek an annulment at all. However, the length of the marriage is not the main requirement for an annulment. Instead, the marriage must meet at least one of the following conditions:

• Either one or both spouses was already married

• Either one or both spouses was mentally incapable of agreeing to the marriage

• The marriage can be considered incestuous

• There were tricks or lies involved to get one or both spouses to marry

• Either spouse was underage

When can you choose a divorce?

When both spouses agree that the marriage existed, their option is to seek a divorce. There are many reasons to seek a divorce, such as adultery or abandonment, but spouses can also choose a no-fault divorce and can just use irreconcilable differences as the reason. During a divorce, the spouses will also negotiate the division of assets and debts.

If you are ready to move forward with ending your marriage, study your options carefully. Once you make your choice, begin preparing and pay attention to all the details.