What's the Difference Between Divorce vs. Annulment?
The ending of a marriage can be painful but a divorce lawyer can help separating couples come to a quick and fair resolution.
Marriages can be legally ended through divorce or an annulment. With compassion and understanding, divorce lawyer Jeffrey W. Goldblatt works closely with clients to determine which option, divorce versus annulment, is right for their needs. If you live in East Brunswick, NJ, or neighboring Freehold, NJ, and would like to find out which option is right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.
How Are Divorce and Annulment Different?
Although divorce and annulment both end a marriage, there are some key differences that should be understood when seeking to dissolve a marriage.
Simply put, the biggest difference between divorce and an annulment is that divorce recognizes the marriage existed whereas an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened. In order to be granted an annulment, the marriage must be proved to be invalid to the courts.
To better understand the difference between divorce and annulment, let's take a closer look at the grounds for each.
What Are Grounds for Divorce?
In New Jersey, a divorce may be filed on no-fault or fault grounds. When filing for divorce on grounds of no-fault or irreconcilable differences, both spouses must live apart for at least 12 consecutive months before filing for divorce and experience irreconcilable differences for at least six months.
Alternatively, divorce may be filed on fault grounds if adultery occurred during the marriage, one of the spouses becomes incarcerated for an extended period of time, or one of the spouses becomes institutionalized.
What Are Grounds for Seeking an Annulment
Annulments are either civil or religious. Civil annulments are granted by the court and religious annulments are granted by the church. Because both civil and religious annulments treat the marriage as though it never existed, obtaining one can be more complicated than a divorce.
In order to obtain a civil annulment, there needs to have been:
- Fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment of a major fact: For example, the spouse lied about already being married or hid that he or she has children from a previous relationship.
- A misunderstanding between the couple: A misunderstanding may occur when one spouse enters the marriage assuming they will have children but the other spouse does not want to.
- Lack of consent: When someone was forced into marriage or did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage, he or she may seek an annulment.
- Incest or impotency: If the spouses are related too closely to marry or one of the spouses is impotent and hid that fact from the spouse, an annulment may be granted.
Division of Property and Child Custody
Both divorce and annulment require the division of property and a child custody agreement when children are involved.
Dividing property and coming to a child custody agreement can become complicated without the help of an attorney. Family law attorney Jeffrey Goldblatt helps clients through the complexities of divorce and annulment proceedings so they can move forward in starting the next chapter of their lives.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Goldblatt
If you live in East Brunswick or surrounding areas and are looking for a compassionate attorney to help you quickly and amicably dissolve your marriage, please call (732) 238-8700 to schedule a consultation with divorce attorney Jeffrey Goldblatt.