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Differences between annulment and divorce

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2023 | Family Law |

Kentucky couples who tie the knot expect their marriages to last. Sadly, that’s not always the case; things may happen over time, leading to a breakdown. Some couples will end up divorcing while others may qualify for an annulment. These are the differences between the two.

Understanding annulments

An annulment is a way to legally end a marriage that states that the marriage never happened. It occurs when a couple’s marriage was never actually valid in the eyes of the law. An annulment can be done for civil or religious reasons. An example of the former is that there was fraud on the part of one of the spouses or one spouse was already married and committed bigamy, making the marriage invalid.

Annulments can also be done for religious purposes. For example, if a couple marries and realizes they are incompatible and cannot continue, they might qualify for an annulment through their religious institution because divorce is prohibited by the laws of that religion.

How divorce works

Divorce is a legal means for ending a marriage. The proceeding can take place through the court or by informal means such as divorce mediation or collaborative divorce where the spouses agree to work together to settle all matters. When going through a traditional court divorce in Kentucky, it’s not necessary to prove fault on the part of a spouse; this is because the state follows no-fault laws. One party only needs to claim irreconcilable differences to obtain a divorce.

Differences between the two

Divorce recognizes that a legitimate marriage took place; annulment means that the marriage never existed in the eyes of the law and never should have occurred. A couple must be separated and living apart for at least 60 days before a divorce decree can be issued.

Nobody goes into a marriage thinking it will eventually end. However, sometimes, divorce or annulment is necessary and can benefit those involved.