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How is annulment different from divorce?

Annulment and divorce are both legal ways to end a marriage. Their important difference, however, is that divorce puts an end to an existing valid marriage, whereas annulment simply declares that what everyone thought was a valid marriage was actually never a marriage at all. Simply put, an annulled marriage, as far as the law is concerned, is a marriage that never really existed.

You will not have the option to choose between an annulment and a divorce. Which type you obtain to end your marriage will depend on the circumstances surrounding the marriage. There are specific grounds for annulment in Florida, and if you do not meet those requirements, then divorce is the only option for you.

If you do meet those requirements, this means that your marriage was never legally valid, and you can not get a divorce for a marriage that never legally existed. There are lots of misconceptions surrounding annulments and the reasons for obtaining them. While Florida does not have specific annulment laws, they work off case precedent to determine if your case will meet the criteria that has historically been considered legal grounds for annulment, such as a minor marrying without consent, mental incapacitation at the time of the marriage, one party already having an existing legal marriage (bigamy), or entering the marriage under fraudulent circumstances or duress.

Annulment is further broken down into 2 subsections- void marriages and voidable marriages. Void marriages are those that were never valid, which can always be annulled, and voidable marriages, those that may not necessarily have been void at the onset, which can sometimes be annulled. A void marriage can never become a legal marriage, regardless of the feelings of the couple.

Florida assumes that all marriages are valid, so seeking an annulment can require extensive proof and evidence that the marriage is void or voidable. Both annulment and divorce require legal proceedings to end the marriage, and the assistance of a qualified divorce attorney can help you determine which is right for your specific case, and assist with obtaining the appropriate dissolution.

For divorce assistance, contact the Divorce Attorney Tampa for your Free Consultation at (813) 336-3616.

The information provided is for your reference only, is not intended to be advice, and should not be construed as such. The information provided or legal statutes may change at any time, and we are not accountable for the accuracy of this information. Use of this website or information provided does not constitute a client-attorney relationship. Please contact us for legal assistance with your specific question or need.