Annulment vs. Divorce – Should I Hire an Orem Attorney?

Seeking an annulment or a divorce is a very important decision that should not be taken lightly but usually requires the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney.

There is a significant difference between an annulment and a divorce. When a marriage is seeking a legal ending, a divorce is the result. An annulment is the decision of a court declaring that a marriage never took place.

While the laws and proceedings involved in both annulments and divorces vary by state, there are guidelines to both that must be adhered to on a national level.

The initiation of an annulment can be instigated by either party, but there are certain criteria on which it must be obtained including: mental illness or incapacity, bigamy (the marrying of one person while legally married to another), an underage marriage lacking court approval or parental permission, an incestuous marriage involving inappropriate family relations, a marriage entered into without proper consent under conditions such as duress, threat, or force, a lack of ability to sexually consummate the marriage, or cases of fraud including “deception intended to result in financial or personal gain” with an intention to deceive others “by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities”.

Divorce cases tend to be even more complicated because there are usually issues of debt distribution as well as the division of commonly held marital assets. If the couple seeking a divorce have had children together, there are issues to resolve surrounding the subjects of child support, custody, and visitation rights and agreements.

While the specifics of the laws vary, all states offer the options of a “fault” or a “no-fault” divorce. In the case of a “no-fault” divorce, many states require a waiting period, usually around 6 months, before a divorce can be finalized. In situations where one party wants to expedite a dissolution of marriage, often blame will be placed on one spouse thus deeming them at “fault”. The guidelines for a “fault” divorce often include: desertion, abuse, adultery, conviction of a crime, severe mental issues, or addiction to gambling, alcohol, or drugs.

The issues of annulment and divorce are complicated topics that require experienced legal consideration in order to adequately protect all parties involved. This is one of the situstions in life that shouldn’t be left without proper representation. Seeking professional counsel is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your family.

About the Author

Experienced Divorce Lawyer Kelly Peterson handles child custody, visitation, paternity, grandparent rights and mediation cases.

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*Child Welfare Law Specialist Nat’l Assoc. of Counsel for Children