Can I Get an Annulment Instead of a Divorce?

Many couples wonder whether they should seek to terminate their marriage with a divorce or whether they should try to annul their union. There are a number of things to consider when making this important decision. It is helpful to understand the divorce and annulment processes so you can make the right choice. Most often, annulments are associated with marriages of short duration. If you have been married a long time, an annulment is likely not an option.

Short-Term Marriages

When you walk down the aisle, you assume that your marriage will be forever. Unfortunately, there are some couples who find out relatively quickly that marriage was a mistake. Some celebrities have had extremely short marriages. For example, Britney Spears was married to Jason Alexander for just 55 hours before they called it quits. They were granted an annulment. Mario Lopez was married to Ali Landry for two weeks before she found out he cheated days before the wedding. They were also granted an annulment.

Famously, Kim Kardashian married Kris Humphries in a huge and expensive wedding but filed for divorce just 72 days later. Kris Humphries wanted an annulment while Kim requested a divorce. The resolution dragged on for two years and ended in a divorce. Although your marriage may not be quite that short, you may wonder whether you can request an annulment or whether you should obtain a divorce.

What are the Grounds for Annulment?

Generally, it is easier to get a divorce than an annulment in Florida. Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state. That means that the parties do not need to prove any grounds for divorce. They can end the marriage because it is irretrievably broken. On the other hand, an annulment requires that you prove one of the grounds, which include:

  • One spouse was under the age of consent at the time of the marriage
  • One or both parties were unable to consent to marriage due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a mental disability
  • Spouses are related so as to make the marriage illegal
  • One or both spouses were already legally married to someone else at the time they wed
  • One party lied to the other about an important or fundamental matter
  • One party used fraud or deception or threats before the wedding

Florida does not have an annulment statute. This makes it more difficult to obtain an annulment. If you want to obtain an annulment, you have the burden of proof. The annulment process can take longer than a divorce and will typically be more expensive.

If you are ready to end your marriage, you will want to consider your reasons for pursuing an annulment rather than a divorce. An annulment wipes out the marriage, as though it never existed. For some people, this is an important factor. Some religions do not allow divorce and therefore annulment may be the only way to end an unsatisfactory union. Before you make this important decision, you should consult with an experienced Brevard County family law attorney. Your lawyer will answer your questions and provide you with guidance to help you choose the best path. Contact our compassionate lawyers at Henderson Legal Group to discuss the details of your case today.

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