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Annulment vs. Divorce

So, you’ve decided that the person you married is not the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Of course, this is not an uncommon occurrence. But if your marriage was rather short-lived, you may wonder if an annulment is a possibility.

Many people look to an annulment to essentially wipe their marriage record clean. If you are able to get an annulment, it means your marriage was invalid and never existed.

Divorces are much more complicated. Assets are divided by the judge’s decision. In an annulment, however, the goal is to get the spouses back to their financial situation before they got married. Whatever you brought into a marriage you will likely get back, unlike a divorce. Therefore, there’s a very low risk of a person losing everything.

In a divorce, alimony and child support come into play. This does not happen in annulments, since it’s like the marriage never happened. This can be good or bad, depending on your financial situation.

Grounds for Annulment

In order to file for an annulment, you will have to prove one of the following:

  • Use of fraud to get the person to consent to marriage
  • Mental incapacity
  • Marriage by force or duress
  • Marriage to an underage spouse
  • Inability to consummate the marriage
  • A spouse was married to another person at the time of the marriage (bigamy)
  • Incurable insanity for at least five years

Grounds for Divorce

In order to file for divorce, you will have to prove one of the following:

  • Irreconcilable differences (breakdown of a marriage for at least six months)
  • Abandonment
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment
  • Legal separation

Time Requirements

When it comes to an annulment, there is no waiting period or time requirements. You can even do it the next day if you find out that one of the above situations applies. In fact, the sooner the better. The longer you wait, the harder it is to prove it.

A divorce in New York requires that you meet the residency requirement as well as the divorce requirement. If both spouses are New York residents on the day of the divorce, then this satisfies the requirement. If not, then it can take 1-2 years to meet the requirement.

For a no-fault divorce, you must be able to prove that the marriage has been over for at least six months. For abandonment, the abandonment must occur for one year. Imprisonment requires that one spouse be in prison for at least three years. Given these minimum time requirements, it can be said that you must be married at least six months before you can file for divorce.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer Today

Are you having difficulties in your marriage? While annulments are not very common, they can be accomplished if you have proof that an incident occurred in your marriage.

Divorces are much more common than annulments, so be prepared. Brooklyn divorce attorney Theodore Alatsas ESQ can help you understand the differences between annulments and divorces. He can review your situation and let you know the laws that apply to you. If you’re ready to end your marriage, contact him at (718) 233-2903 to schedule a free consultation.