At a basic level, the difference between an annulment and a divorce is that one process for dissolution, the divorce, recognizes that there was a union between two people which no longer exists, while the other process for dissolution, the annulment, states that a union never existed. Every state, territory and the District of Columbia have their own laws and policies regarding annulments and divorces. But, there are some procedures for a union?s end that are the same across America and the territories.
PROCEDURES FOR DISSOLUTION
Couples must file a civil process to obtain a legal conclusion for both divorces and annulments. In addition to a civil annulment, some couples may need to obtain a religious annulment in order to remarry within their faith. Not all states recognize or grant annulments or no-fault divorces. To understand the governing laws in any given local, it would be advantageous to seek the advice of a family law attorney.
TYPES OF DISSOLUTION
1. Annulment: One or both parties must be able to prove that information not disclosed before the union would have made the marriage invalid or illegal.
a. An absolute divorce is when one or both parties can prove a wrong doing or a fault. The outcome of the procedure is that one or both parties will be named as guilty for the failure of the marriage.
b. A limited divorce is when both parties are granted permission to live separately but still remain legally married. There are a number of states that will convert a limited divorce to a final divorce decree after the two parties have lived apart for an extended period of time.
GROUNDS FOR ANNULMENT:
A request for an annulment may be granted if, at the time of the marriage, one or both parties were:
1. Underage and entered into the union without parental consent.
2. Already married to someone and had not obtained a legal divorce.
3. Prohibited by law to create a union based on a close familial relationship.
4. Mentally incapable of properly consenting to the union due to excessive illegal drug or alcohol use.
5. Unable to consummate the marriage.
GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE:
A request for a divorce may be granted if one or both parties can prove:
2. Physical or emotional abuse
3. Addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling
4. Criminal activities or a criminal conviction
5. Desertion or abandonment