Local. Experienced. Trial-Tested.

Cullman County’s Local Legal Team

Is there a difference between divorce and legal annulment?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2022 | Family Law

When most couples decide to end their marriages in Alabama, they go through a legal process known as divorce. However, there are other legal ways to end a marriage – one of which is through annulment.

What’s the difference between divorce and annulment?

Divorce is a legal process that ends a marriage between two people who have been in marriage for at least a year. The couple must go through the court system to finalize the divorce. An annulment, on the other hand, is a legal process that declares a marriage null and void. A marriage can get annulled if it was never legally valid or if it was entered into under duress.

For instance, a marriage may not be legal if one of the spouses is still married to someone else, or if the couple is closely related to each other. A marriage can also be annulled if a spouse was forced into the marriage.

How does the process of getting an annulment work in Alabama?

The first step is to file a petition for annulment with the family law court in the county where you live. You will need to include grounds for why you are seeking an annulment, such as one of the reasons listed above. Just like what happens in child custody cases, once the petition goes through, your spouse may get served with divorce papers and given a chance to respond.

If your spouse does not respond, or if they agree to the annulment, a judge will likely grant the annulment. However, if your spouse disagrees with the annulment, you may have to go through a trial. After hearing both sides of the case, a judge may decide whether or not to grant the annulment.

Getting a divorce can be a long and complicated process, but it is the most common way to end a marriage. If you meet certain criteria, however, you may be able to get your marriage annulled instead. Annulments are usually quicker and easier than getting a divorce, but they may not be an option in every situation.