Annulment vs Divorce

  •   |   Meghan Freed

annulment versus divorce on the freed marcroft divorce and family law.What’s the difference between annulment vs divorce?  When contemplating divorce, you may want to learn a little more about divorce alternatives like annulment or separation.

In Connecticut, divorce is the most common legal approach to end a marriage, followed by separation, and then by annulment.  This is at least in part because most people don’t meet the legal criteria for an annulment.  Read on to learn about the differences between annulment and divorce, who is eligible for an annulment, and what to consider when choosing the best option for you.

Annulment Definition

It’s critical to understand a key difference between an annulment and a divorce lies in their legal consequences.  Both effectively terminate a marriage, but they come about it quite differently.  A divorce dissolves a marriage (now you know where its formal name “dissolution” comes from.  On the other hand, an annulment is a legal declaration a marriage is null and void, treating it as if it never existed.

In other words, a divorce dissolves a valid marriage, whereas  an annulment deems the marriage as invalid from its inception.

Please note that a legal, civil annulment is not the same thing as an annulment issued by a religious institution.

Divorce vs Marriage Annulment

The other major distinction between divorce and marriage annulment regards the grounds you need to pursue them.  The fact that the grounds differ substantially is rooted in the fact that a divorce dissolves a marriage whereas an annulment declares that a marriage was fundamentally flawed or invalid from the start, essentially erasing the marriage.

Difference between Divorce and Annulment

The grounds for annulment in Connecticut, include the below.  In other word, you may be able to annul the marriage if:

  • If one spouse deceived the other in order to get them to marry, such as by lying about their identity or financial status.  In other words, if there was fraud or misrepresentation.
  • If one or both spouses lacked the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the marriage, such as due to intoxication or mental illness. We call this lack of capacity.
  • If the marriage was entered into between close relatives or if one or both spouses were already married to someone else at the time of the marriage.  We also refer to this as the incest or bigamy grounds.

By contrast, you can obtain a divorce in Connecticut based upon the no-fault ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably with no hope of reconciliation.  This is significant because one spouse’s affirmation that their marriage has broken down is sufficient (from a grounds perspective) for the court to grant a divorce.

Read: The Differences Between Annulment and Divorce in Connecticut

Read: What Are the Grounds for a Divorce in Connecticut?

Annulment Myths

There are two main myths about annulments in Connecticut.

First, there’s a rumor that being married for a very short period of time qualifies you for an annulment.  Simply being married for a very short period of time is not a qualifying ground.

Second, that annulments are simple and fast.  Given the grounds you have to prove, this is also false.

Annulment or Divorce

For most people, annulment isn’t an option.  However, if you do meet the criteria for an annulment, you will want to weigh the pros versus the cons.  For example, you may find it attractive that annulment legally erases the marriage’s existence.  On the downside, it’s generally more difficult to obtain than a divorce.

Next Steps

If you’d like to discuss more of the differences between annulment vs divorce, please contact us.

Freed Marcroft LLC

Freed Marcroft LLC