If you want to end a marriage, then there are two options available: annulment or divorce. Both will end the marriage, but each has a slightly different way of treating it. The main difference is a divorce ends a valid marriage; an annulment means the marriage was never valid.
Either partner who seeks to dissolve the unity and all the responsibilities that go with marriage can file for divorce. This involves a legal process that sometimes determines child custody or alimony (spousal financial support) if necessary. One of the most popular reasons for divorce is adultery, but there are many other causes such as domestic violence or addiction. If a spouse feels their life is in danger and he or she fears bodily harm, then the marriage can be annulled if the threats are immediate.
Unlike divorce, annulment states the marriage never existed. This is harder to obtain than a divorce because specific criteria have to be met. One of the reasons for an annulment can involve lack of agreement. Both people who enter a marriage have to consent to the unification, and if someone is threatened or forced into the marriage, it can be voided. Other reasons can include fraud, which involves one of the spouses lying to the other; they could be seeking citizenship, money, or might not even be old enough to get married. The fraud has to be specific to the marriage specifically.
An annulment can also be issued if there are any possibilities of incest. If either of the spouses were not aware of their close genetic relationship, then it is possible for the marriage to be voided. In addition, if either spouse has hidden an important detail about their life, such as being currently married to someone else, an addiction, or any type of felony, there are grounds for an annulment.
Another cause for annulment could be that one of the spouses is mentally incompetent. If he or she isn’t able to function normally or are unstable, the marriage can be voided. This can also happen if the spouse lied to the other about his or her mental stability either before or during the marriage.
Both can be stressful experiences involving drastic lifestyle changes. Each can potentially face adjusting to different living arrangements, guardianship, and financial hardships. It is particularly hard for children of separating parents to adjust to their new routines. Divorce may place them into spate custody. With annulment, the children will never be considered illegitimate.
For both divorce and annulment, either person is able to get married again afterwards to someone else. There are no legalities preventing them from going into another unit marriage later on, but there are often times a stigma attached; society often has harsh views on separation because marriage is legally and spiritually binding for life.
The main difference between the two is a divorce ends a valid marriage and an annulment proves the marriage invalid. It all depends on the circumstances on which path to take.