What is the Difference Between Annulment and Divorce?

There are two different ways to dissolve a marriage; divorce and annulment. The two methods are very different from one another. A divorce terminates a marriage, while an annulment voids the original marriage contract. If you are trying to decide between the two processes, it is important to carefully consider the differences between the two.

Many people choose to go the annulment route because they do not believe in divorce due to their religion, or because they do not want to be labeled and stigmatized for having been divorced. However, if you wish to annul your marriage, you are required to prove that the marriage was invalid from the very beginning.

Some examples of reasons for annulment are that you and your spouse are close blood relatives, either spouse was impotent and the marriage was not consummated, either spouse was not legally old enough to be married at the time the marriage occurred, either spouse was forced into the marriage, etc.

On the other hand, some people choose the divorce route because divorce no longer carries the social stigma it once did. Some states even allow no-fault divorces, in which neither party must prove wrongdoing.

You and your spouse must carefully consider which procedure works best for you. It is also important to remember that both divorces and annulments require you to consider property division issues, spousal support, and child custody. If you choose to get an annulment, you become technically “unmarried” or “single.” If you choose to get a divorce, however, you are just considered “divorced.”

If you and your spouse are struggling with the decision of which path to go down, do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney to answer any questions you may have.