The Difference Between Annulment And Divorce In Florida
A lot of people are unsure of the difference between annulment and divorce. While it’s true that the two terms are often used interchangeably and both involve the legal termination of marriage, the two processes are actually very different. Read on to learn more about annulment versus divorce under Florida law.
What is Divorce?
Divorce is a dissolution of a marriage that was valid, legal, and binding, but that simply didn’t work out for the couple involved. Florida is a no-fault state, so neither party will be required to prove that the other caused the end of the marriage. Instead, the parties will only need to show that their marriage is irretrievably broken. Before finalizing a divorce and severing the legal tie that binds a couple, the parties will also need to contend with a host of issues, including:
- How marital assets will be divided;
- Whether one party will be required to pay alimony to the other;
- How the couple will share custody of any children; and
- Which parent will be responsible for paying child support.
If a couple is unable to reach an agreement on any of these issues, then a court will step in and issue a ruling on the parties’ behalf.
What is Annulment?
Annulment, on the other hand, is a legal procedure acknowledging that a marriage between two people never actually took place because there was something legally wrong with the union from the get-go. Once a judge grants an annulment, a marriage is treated as if it never occurred, so there is no need to deal with the aforementioned divorce-related issues. There are several reasons why a court would grant an annulment, including because:
- One or both of the spouses were under the age of consent and neither of the parties’ parents gave approval for the union;
- One of the spouses was forced into the marriage through manipulation or coercion;
- One of the spouses was knowingly impotent, but didn’t disclose it to the other;
- The spouses are related;
- One or both of the parties is married to someone else;
- One or both spouses lack the mental competency to enter into a marriage; or
- One of the spouses intentionally deceived the other about a criminal record or family history.
Because an annulment is a legal declaration that a marriage was never valid, the couples won’t need to divide marital property. Instead, any property acquired prior to the marriage will be returned to its respective owners and property obtained during the union can be split up at the parties’ discretion.
Are You Considering Divorce?
If you think you might qualify for an annulment, or are interested in pursuing a divorce and live in Florida, dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. can help. Call us at 954-945-7591 or schedule a free consultation online by filling out one of our contact forms. A member of our legal team is standing by to help you with your divorce-related questions and concerns.