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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > What’s The Difference Between An Annulment And A Divorce?

What’s The Difference Between An Annulment And A Divorce?


There is a great deal of confusion over what actually constitutes an annulment. This is in part because there is misunderstanding about the fact that there are two types of annulments: religious and civil (or legal). Religious annulments are granted by a church at any point following a marriage. However, they have no effect on the actual legal status of a marriage. A legal annulment essentially declares that no marriage has occurred. This differs from a divorce which dissolves an existing marriage. Whereas a divorce ends a marriage, an annulment declares that no marriage never existed. In general, the situations in which an annulment applies are very limited. Only in fairly specific circumstances will an annulment apply. However, if an annulment is appropriate in your situation, it is likely the best route. If you are unsure whether you qualify for an annulment of what the best course of action is to take legally in order to move on from your marriage, the best thing to do is talk to an experienced Birmingham divorce lawyer. If you would like to speak with the divorce lawyers at Peeples Law, feel free to simply reach out and schedule a consultation.

Understanding the Grounds for an Annulment

In Alabama, the party that moves for an annulment has the burden of proving that the marriage is not valid. Alabama case law has an established precedent supporting the idea that an annulment can be granted when a fraud has occurred that goes to the essence of marriage. In general, lying about things like education, employment status, or income, have not been held as reaching the essence of marriage. However, lying about one’s intention not to sleep with their spouse after marriage or to live separately have been held as sufficient to grant an annulment because marital relations and cohabitation are both central to the essence of the marital relationship. Lying about having a sexually transmitted disease can also be grounds for an annulment, as can one spouse being underage or having been coerced into the marriage against their will. If you believe you may have grounds for an annulment, it’s important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible to get a sense of your options and what has to unfold.

Getting an Annulment

In order to obtain an annulment, you will have to file appropriate paperwork with the court. This part is critical. If you accidentally use the paperwork intended for divorces, the court will consider this evidence that you believe an actual marriage existed and that a divorce is necessary. Annulment will then cease to be an option. For this reason, working with an attorney for annulments can be very helpful and can help to this potential pitfall.

Talk to a Divorce Attorney

If you are considering pursuing a divorce or annulment and want to get a sense of your options, the experienced Birmingham divorce attorneys at Peeples Law are ready to help. Our lawyers will review the facts and circumstances of your case and give you personalized and strategic insights designed to get you the best results possible. If you are ready to move forward into the next chapter of your life, contact Peeples Law and schedule your consultation today.

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