How an Annulment Differs From a Divorce

The Differences Between an Annulment and a Divorce

When you are in the midst of a divorce and are looking at all of your options, you might be interested in learning more about annulments and what they mean in the state of New Jersey. Across America, there were more than 825,000 divorces in 2016, which is a figure that takes annulments into account. When you are facing the possibility of obtaining an annulment or divorce, you should be aware of the differences between these legal options.

What Is an Annulment?

An annulment is very similar to a divorce in that it ends a marriage. However, an annulment basically cancels a marriage as though it never existed in the first place, which means that there are a range of different results that stem from this type of marriage dissolution. There are a wide range of reasons as to why an annulment may be granted in the state of New Jersey. These reasons extend from issues of fraud to intoxication causing one or both spouses to be unaware that they were actually getting married.

When an individual is looking to obtain a divorce, it’s possible for the divorce to be granted for any number of reasons, which could be something like irreconcilable differences. While both of these options effectively end the marriage, a traditional divorce doesn’t get rid of the marriage, which means that the marriage is still considered to have happened. An annulment voids the marriage from record altogether, which may be preferable in certain situations. If you are interested in an annulment, our Hackensack family lawyer can provide your case with legal representation.

Grounds for an Annulment in New Jersey

While there are some grounds for obtaining an annulment in the state of New Jersey, these reasons are somewhat limited in comparison to the ones available when filing for a divorce. You can receive an annulment for:

  • The presence of bigamy in the marriage, which indicates that one spouse was married to another individual as well
  • Lies or fraud that causes one spouse to decide to marry the other
  • Impotence that’s not curable
  • The marriage only being entered because of serious threats from one spouse to the other
  • The marriage being deemed illegal because of relations being too close
  • Intoxication or the presence of a mental condition that caused one spouse to be unaware that they were getting married

No matter who fills out the annulment forms, both spouses must have a copy of the form before the annulment is processed. An agreement by both parties means that a hearing may not be necessary in order for the marriage to be annulled. On the other hand, a disagreement by one party means that a hearing will likely be held in front of a judge. When a judge decides to annul a marriage, the decision is referred to as a Judgment of Nullity.

Results of an Annulment

The results of an annulment are exceedingly similar to those of a standard divorce. While the main difference is that the marriage is void with an annulment, there are some other results of an annulment that can differ from a divorce. If children were involved in the marriage, the father will continue being the father even after the annulment has been agreed to, which means that child custody is handled in the same manner as a divorce.

There are, however, some key differences with property division. For instance, a judge is unable to make a decision about the equal distribution of property when the annulment is being processed. Property distribution will depend on the name that’s found on the title of the property. Whether the property is a house or a car, the person whose name is on the title will retain ownership without needing to divide the property with their spouse. Of course, the property will be divided equally if the couple holds a joint title.

Whether you are interested in seeking an annulment or would like to file for a divorce, call our Hackensack family lawyer at (201) 343-0078 so that we can answer all of your questions.

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