Annulment Vs. Divorce
When you’re ready to end your marriage, you pretty much have one option: divorce. A divorce recognizes that you were married and terminates the marriage through court order. Annulment is also an option, but this is not used very often because of the strict requirements involved.
What is an Annulment?
An annulment makes a marriage null and void. It erases the marriage from your history, so once you end your marriage, you can say that you are single rather than divorced. Also, you will not have to split your property. You will be restored back to how you were before the marriage, since you will not be getting divorced.
Each state has different requirements for an annulment. In Maryland, you can get an annulment if you can prove any of the following:
- Your spouse was married to someone else while you were married.
- You and your spouse are related.
- Your spouse was mentally incompetent or legally insane.
- Either person was under 18.
- The marriage was not consummated.
- You entered the marriage by fraud or force.
- Neither person legally consented.
- The marriage was performed by an unauthorized person.
The person who wants the annulment has the burden of proving one of the above. If they do not have sufficient proof, then the judge will not annul the marriage.
In order to gather enough evidence, your marriage may be under scrutiny. The court may require expert witnesses and a thorough investigation.
Also, there are statutes of limitations involved. Obviously, you can’t try to annul your marriage after being together for 20 years. Contact a lawyer to understand the laws that apply.
How is a Divorce Different?
If you do not meet the requirements for an annulment, then your only option is a divorce. A divorce is different because it acknowledges that there was a valid marriage and you want to end it. However, you do not need a reason for divorce. Most states recognize no-fault divorce. The only requirement under Maryland law is that you and your spouse must have lived apart for 12 months before filing for divorce.
You will then need to go through the formalities of divorce, such as splitting assets and dealing with child support and custody if you have kids. You and your spouse will both need to agree on these issues or else the case will go to court.
Once the divorce has been finalized, you are considered divorced, meaning you have been married before. Otherwise, you can live your life as normal. You can date and even remarry.
Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today
An annulment and a divorce are not the same thing. While both end the marriage, an annulment makes the marriage null and void, as if it never happened. A divorce recognizes the marriage and ends it.
Most people choose divorce because annulments have very strict requirements. Learn more by contacting the Columbia divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. Schedule a consultation by calling (410) 774-5987 or filling out the online form. We have two offices to serve you.