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What’s the difference between an annulment and a divorce?

annulment and divorceA divorce and an annulment are similar in the sense that they both dissolve a marriage. However, the difference comes in the way they treat the marriage. 

If a couple gets divorced, they will still be recognized as having been previously married. But for an annulment, the marriage is assumed never to have existed. In other words, an annulment means that the marriage wasn’t legitimate or legal to start with. 

It is always important to understand the difference between the two to avoid confusion. A family law attorney Indianapolis is the most appropriate person to consult if you aren’t sure of anything. 

An illustration of the difference between a divorce and annulment 

After a few years into marriage, couple X decides that they no longer can’t bear with each other – arguments and fights all the time. They agree on how to share their marital property and hire an Indianapolis family attorney to initiate the divorce process. 

Several years after marriage, a wife sees a demand letter for child support. She discovers that her husband left her family before getting married to her. The husband never informed her of anything like that prior to their union. 

Because the husband concealed or misrepresented important information, the wife consults with Indianapolis family law lawyers and files a petition for annulment. She provides evidence of the child support demand letter and the judge annuls the marriage. 

For a marriage to be annulled, it must either be void or voidable. A void marriage is where: 

  • One party is underage or below 16 years 
  • The parties are blood relatives 
  • The couple were married in a place or by a person not registered to conduct marriages 
  • One party was already legally married 

Any party can initiate divorce proceedings through a family law firm in Indianapolis in case they discover any of the above issues. 

What is a voidable marriage? 

A marriage can be considered as voidable based on the following grounds: 

  • If the marriage hasn’t been consummated because either of the party lacks the capacity 
  • If there is no consummation because one party has refused to do so 
  • If either of the parties was coerced into the marriage 
  • If at the time of marriage, the wife was pregnant with another man’s child 

Religious annulments 

The basis on which a person can get a religious annulment is different from an annulment granted by a court. Nonetheless, both types of annulments bear similar effects – the marriage is viewed as one that never happened. 

For the case of the Catholic church, a diocesan tribunal decides whether a marriage was properly instituted or not instead of a court. If it is a church tribunal, then the person seeking annulment may not necessarily need the services of family lawyers in Indianapolis. 

Each party can represent themselves and show enough reasons why they think their marriage should be annulled. If the marriage is annulled, then both spouses can still get married in the catholic church. 

When can a person apply for an annulment or a divorce? 

An application for an annulment can be made any time after a marriage has been formalized. However, you need to wait until after one year before filing a divorce. All you have to do is consult with Indianapolis family lawyers in advance. 

Why you should hire an Indianapolis family law attorney 

Annulment and divorce laws are sometimes difficult to understand and interpret. You need an experienced lawyer from McClure McClure & Davis to properly handle your case. If you decide to represent yourself while your partner has hired a good lawyer, you are likely to lose in many ways. 

 

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