St. Louis Divorce Lawyers

What Is the Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce?

In some situations, you might be able to get your marriage annulled instead of getting divorced.

Annulment Lawyer St Louis

The dissolution of marriage is never an easy decision, and the road to getting a divorce is not always simple. As divorces can be both emotionally and financially damaging, the key is to limit the amount of animosity and financial burden for both parties. If you want to end a marriage, there are two ways that you can do so.

What is an Annulment?

In some situations, you might be able to get your marriage annulled instead of getting divorced. An annulment basically means that you completely erase the fact that you got married at all. It is a way of saying that the marriage was never really valid.

The annulment process can be started by either spouse, but they must have proof of grounds. The person seeking the annulment must be able to prove that the marriage was not valid from the start. There are specific things that you must prove in order to get an annulment. Unlike a divorce, where you just both accept that the marriage isn’t working, an annulment is an admittance that a marriage never existed at all.

Grounds for an Annulment

Here are some of the reasons why a couple would get an annulment versus a divorce:

  • Fraud – To get an annulment, you can claim that the marriage was based on misrepresentation or lies by one person to the other.
  • Bigamy – An annulment may be granted if the other person in the marriage was already married to someone else at the time that you got married.
  • Mental illness – You can obtain an annulment if you can prove that one party was either emotionally disturbed or mentally ill when they entered into the marriage.
  • Forced consent – If one of the spouses was threatened or forced to marry the other, then they may ask for the marriage to be annulled.
  • Underage marriage – If a person was married under the legal age of consent and the parents agreed to the marriage without the consent of the minor, then that is grounds for an annulment.
  • Mental Incapacity – If one or both spouses were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they exchanged vows and were married, that might be grounds for the court to grant an annulment.
  • Inability to consummate the marriage –  If one or both of the spouses is incapable of having sexual relations with the other, then you might use that as grounds for an annulment.

Since Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, there are times when an annulment can be easier than a divorce, and other situations when it would make no difference what kind of dissolution you seek. Since you don’t need to have grounds to be divorced, an annulment is just a technicality in Missouri. If you are deciding which one is right for you, then it is best to hire a St. Louis divorce attorney to help you through the complexity of either dissolving your marriage or petitioning for an annulment.

Seek Legal Help

Our St. Louis divorce lawyers have made a commitment to guide our clients and their families through the divorce process with the least amount of emotional trauma and turmoil as possible. This is done while holding the interests and future of the family as a top priority.

Call us today at (314) 801-8488 or fill out our online case evaluation form to request a Free 30 Minute Phone Consultation.