When to Seek an Annulment instead of a Divorce

Is an Annulment better than a divorce?

annulmentAn annulment can, in some situations, be preferable to a divorce because it erases the legal effects of the marriage. Instead of having continued legal ramifications, such as spousal support orders or divisions of assets, an annulment declares you were never legally married at all, and you return to the same position you were in prior to the marriage. Divorces and annulments both have pros and cons, and it will be important to seek the help and advice of an experienced Scottsdale divorce attorney in deciding which route to take.

How do I qualify for an annulment?

Not every marriage can qualify for an annulment. Annulment is not the same as divorce, and is saved for cases where the court determines that there were fraudulent circumstances involved. Unlike a divorce, in which circumstance arise in the marriage that make the future of the marriage untenable, annulments apply where, if both parties had been truly honest with each other, the marriage would not have occurred at all. Examples of such fraud would be one spouse concealing, prior to the marriage occurring:

  • A criminal past
  • Bigamy (being married to another person at the time of the marriage)
  • A communicable disease
  • Inability to consummate
  • Mental Illness
  • Incest
  • Underage at time of marriage

Annulments in Arizona are based on one or both parties being unable to give informed consent to the marriage, either due to the above concealments or in some cases, due to active mental illness or severe intoxication. Other situations, such as duress, can also be cases for an inability to consent.

How do I file for an annulment?

If you believe you have been deceived by your spouse and were married under false pretenses, or were otherwise unable to consent to the marriage, you may be able to have your marriage annulled. To learn more and discuss your unique situation, consult the Law Office of Hope E. Fruchtman, a Scottsdale divorce attorney experienced in seeking annulments.