Marriages are meant to last until death. When they don’t, you have two legal options: divorce or an annulment. Both options may look and sound similar to you, but the only thing they have in common is separation from your spouse.
The Legal Difference
A divorce allows you to legally end a marriage and returns you to “single” status. An annulment, on the other hand, erases the legal existence of your marriage as though it never happened in the first place. The grounds for filing both options are different as well.
When You Can File for an Annulment
You can choose this legal option to end your marriage if there has been:
Bigamy or Polygamy
You can obtain an annulment if your partner was already legally attached to another person(s) at the time of your wedding. Because the law does not authorize a marriage with multiple persons, you can file for an annulment rather than a divorce.
If the marriage was based on the fabrication of identity or any other misrepresentation, you may be eligible for an annulment. One could consider aspects such as employment status, financial health, and personal health as grounds for fraud.
Consummation of Marriage
If for some reason the marriage has not been consummated, either party can file for an annulment. The law usually recognizes marriage as valid only when it has been physically consummated.
When You Can File for Divorce
The legal option of divorce can be further broken down into two options: a no-fault option and a fault divorce. For the former, both parties have to agree to not blame one another for the separation. A fault divorce can be granted on the following grounds:
The abuse can either be physical or emotional. Both are valid grounds to file for separation. Physical abuse relates to bodily harm and battery. Emotional abuse can refer to various aspects such as the use of abusive language, mental torture, or even threat of physical violence.
Divorce can also be filed if one of the partners has engaged in a relationship outside of the marriage, especially a physical one.
If one spouse has abruptly left, without any intention of returning for a length of time, you will most likely have grounds for a divorce.
Consider the Options With Your Lawyer
Separations are never easy, emotionally or legally. However, with the right legal aid on your side, you can navigate the tricky maze of divorcing your partner or annulling the marriage.
Aida Rojas has practiced family law for over seventeen years specializing in divorce, child custody and support, adoption and more. She was recognized by The Docket Law Magazine in 2019 as a Top Family Attorney in San Antonio. If you are in need of someone who can help today, please contact our office at 210.299.4600.