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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Oct 22, 2015

Annulment or Divorce? What’s Best for Me?

bride and groom

If your marriage is ending, there are some cases where an annulment may be a more appropriate option for dissolving the partnership. Like a divorce, an annulment is a civil court procedure that ends a marriage, but the difference is that an annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed.
There are several reasons that an Arizona court will grant an annulment, including:

  • One of the parties was married to someone else (bigamy).
  • The parties are too closely related by blood.
  • One of the parties was under the age of consent.
  • One or both of the parties lacked the physical or mental capacity to get married, which includes being intoxicated.
  • The parties failed to obtain a marriage license.
  • One of the parties perpetrated a fraud to get the other party to consent to the marriage.
  • One party used force (legally known as “duress”) to get the other party to agree to marriage.
  • The parties have not had sexual relations or one party refused to have intercourse.
  • One of the parties misrepresented his or her religion.

Especially if you haven’t been married very long, there is little difference between annulment and divorce, and if you don’t have assets to split or children, you most likely qualify for a “summary” divorce, which is simpler than an annulment. Most annulments involve marriages of a very short duration, so there is typically very little property or children to worry about. In the event of a long-term marriage ending in annulment, Arizona law includes statutes that state the courts must still divide the property of the spouses when the marriage is annulled, making it very similar to the divorce procedure.

If your marriage is ending and you’re considering an annulment, speak to an attorney who has experience with family law in Arizona who can tell you which option is best for you and guide you through the process while protecting your rights.