The Difference Between Divorce and Annulment in California
There are only two ways to end a legal marriage: annulment or divorce. An annulment is a legal process that cancels a marriage. The annulment of a marriage means that it is legally erased. It is lawfully declared that the marriage never technically existed and was never valid. A divorce is a legal termination of an existing union. When couples consider ending their marriage – they often aren’t sure whether they should seek an annulment or a divorce yet the two options are very different and in most cases, a marriage isn’t eligible for an annulment.
As annulments are meant to cancel out a marriage that was never legal and should never have existed in the first place, a marriage must fulfill certain conditions before one or both spouses can file a petition for annulment.
California law considers a marriage unlawful and subject to annulment for a variety of reasons:
- One or both spouses are already legally married
- The spouses have a close blood relation
- One party in the marriage was a minor when the ceremony occurred
- The marriage was a result of fraud or coercion
- One of the individuals in the marriage was not in a state of mind to fully understand the nature of the marriage when it took place
If a marriage is eligible for an annulment, the process is significantly different from a divorce. Unlike divorce, it does not involve a lengthy legal process. The nature of an annulment is to “cancel out” a marriage – everything about a marriage. It is the perfect solution for individuals attempting to get out of an unlawful marriage, but it does not include the various terms and conditions typically managed during a divorce.
A divorce is a legal termination of an existing marriage or union. Parties can file a petition for divorce for any number of reasons that make reconciling challenging. A specific reason does not have to be listed.
If you aren’t sure whether you are eligible for an annulment in the state of California or if you need to discuss filing for divorce, please get in touch with one of the California divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm.
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