Hiring a Family Law Attorney When Adopting a Child

Divorce VS Annulment: Two Ways To End A Marriage

by Jamie Nichols

Marriages are more than symbolic commitments between lovers. They unite two people in many legal ways, too. A married couple shares monetary assets, physical properties, guardianship rights to their children, and much more. Whenever a marriage has to end, family law attorneys help the married couple separate their lives as equitably as possible. Depending on the length of the marriage and many other factors, attorneys help their clients either file for divorce or annulment. Here are the differences between these two options for ending a marriage. 


Annulment is the legal way to end an invalid marriage. A marriage is considered invalid when a spouse was forced into the marriage, couldn't legally consent to the marriage, or was deceived about major issues, such as the other spouse's criminal history. In these cases, the law doesn't respect the marriage, and the marriage can be functionally erased from each spouse's history. Annulments require evidence of wrongdoing on the part of at least one spouse; there is no such thing as a no-fault annulment. 

At the end of an annulment, each former spouse is considered unmarried rather than divorced. The marriage records still exist, but otherwise, the marriage is counted as never legally happening. If children were born while the ex-spouses were married, family law attorneys will set up visitation agreements and child support agreements, but no spouses can receive alimony after an annulment.


Divorce is the legal way to end a valid marriage. A valid marriage is a marriage between two consenting adults who haven't seriously deceived each other. Divorces are easily obtained, and if both spouses try to be fair to each other during divorce proceedings, they can be quick and inexpensive, too. Some states require spouses to stay married for one to two years before getting divorced. No-fault divorces are common and relatively simple because they site "irreconcilable differences" as the cause for the divorce rather than wrongdoing on the part of a spouse.

At the end of a divorce, ex-spouses may still be connected through alimony, child support payments, child visitation agreements, and other legal commitments. They will, however, have separate assets and properties and will be able to marry other people. The marriage stays on record, and each spouse is considered divorced rather than unmarried or single.

A family law attorney can help you end your marriage in the best and easiest way possible for your specific circumstances.