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Divorce or annulment -- which do I need?

Ending a marriage can be challenging -- emotionally and legally. In Texas and elsewhere, there are many ways to do it, though, and there are those who just want to make it look like the marriage never happened. A divorce does not do this, but an annulment can. So, divorce or annulment -- which one is needed?

If granted an annulment, it is basically the court saying that the marriage never happened. Some people wish to pursue annulments for religious reasons, and others want to do it in order to avoid dividing property or paying financial support. Getting an annulment is not an easy thing to do. It does require a trial, and it does require proving the marriage resulted from one of four conditions. These are:

  • Bigamy
  • Insanity
  • Force
  • Fraud

Divorce, on the other hand, does not legally erase the marriage. It is about legally uncoupling and coming to terms on dividing assets, alimony, child support and child custody. When going through a divorce, going to court can be avoided if a couple can come to terms through private negotiations or through alternative dispute resolution.

So, divorce or annulment -- which one is needed? It all comes down to what each spouse is wanting to get out of the uncoupling. An annulment -- if granted -- allows each party to walk away, no strings attached. A divorce, on the other hand, requires each party to live up to his or her end of the final agreement. An experienced family law attorney can assist Texas residents in pursuing the dissolution of marriage option that is right for them.

Source:, "What's The Difference Between A Divorce And An Annulment?", Macaela Mackenzie, Sept. 7, 2017

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