The annulment of a particular marriage is best described as an alternative to divorce because it provides both parties with a potential “blank slate” of opportunity—in other words, by legally defining a marriage as void, an annulment declares it invalid because of the circumstances of its commencement. The recognized difference of a divorce and an annulment is that a divorce concludes a marriage which is recognized as valid, while an annulment acts as a cancellation of marital ties as if they were to have never existed. Religion can in some cases complicate this option or make it more appealing, as different faiths interpret divorce law in various ways.
The availability of annulments is dependent on certain factors that qualify married couples for nullification. Possible causes for annulment include but are not limited to the following circumstances: (1) one or both spouses lacked the mental capabilities (due to disability or intoxication, for example) required for a legal marriage contract, (2) a marriage contract was completed only after a threat or intimidation was applied, (3) one or both spouses was not legally of age to participate in a marriage contract, (4) the spouses involved are biological relatives, (5) one spouse was involved in a separate and simultaneous marriage, or (6) fraud.
It is important to note that an annulment does not necessarily include the same benefits which can be produced by a successful divorce. An annulment may indeed limit your ability to access the assets of your marital estate, and alimony can be more difficult to obtain if annulment is sought.
David Isaacson, Attorney at Law, brings his exceptional procedural knowledge and litigation experience to the annulment process and provides consultation as well as other legal services through his New City, New York office.
Note: With annulment and divorce, it is appropriate to consult both legal and spiritual advisors.
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