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Annulment Versus Divorce in New York: What Are the Differences?

Annulment Versus Divorce in New York: What Are the Differences?

What Are the Differences Between an Annulment and Divorce?

While both an annulment and a divorce end a marriage, there are key differences between each. Determining what these differences are can help you determine which option is best for you and your spouse. Although most couples lean towards getting divorced over getting an annulment, it is just as important to understand what separates an annulment from a divorce. Today, we discuss the primary differences between both processes.

Annulment Versus Divorce in New York: Key Differentiators

An annulment asserts that no valid marriage existed in the first place whereas a divorce legally terminates an existing marriage. The legal grounds for an annulment in New York State include but are not limited to the following:

  • Bigamy
  • Incest
  • Duress
  • Age (if one spouse was too young to agree to the marriage at the time)
  • Impotency
  • Fraud

While New York State allows no-fault divorces, here are the grounds for divorce:

  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Abandonment (for a period of 1 or more years)
  • Imprisonment (for 3 or more consecutive years)
  • Relationship has broken down irretrievably
  • Adultery
  • Separation agreement (living separately for a period of 1 or more years)

Process of Obtaining a Divorce Versus an Annulment

The process of obtaining a divorce or an annulment are similar. You will need to file a petition with the court to obtain either. After, a hearing will be held, and the judge will issue an order. Generally, a divorce begins with the divorce petition, which is then served to the other spouse. Once this is done, it is filed in the county where one of the spouses resides.

When it comes to either process, it is highly recommended to consult with an experienced attorney. The legal complexities of child custody, child support, and the division of marital assets all need to be resolved, which means it is imperative that you understand the law and how it could affect your rights.

Terminating Your Marriage with Divorce Versus an Annulment

To terminate your marriage in a divorce, you will need to agree on all the terms of your divorce. You will also be required to disclose all information regarding your personal assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. If uncontested, all you need to do is file your legal documents and paperwork. If contested, a trial will be held. Once the court enters a final judgement, the marriage will be legally terminated.

In an annulment, issues such as child custody and support payments must be resolved in the same manner as they would in a divorce. One of the key differences is that when it comes to property division, the court will try to leave each party in the same position they were in before the wedding was held. Also, generally, neither party can claim spousal support in an annulment.

A judge can refuse to grant an annulment but cannot refuse to grant a no-fault divorce (this is almost never heard of).

For assistance navigating the process of terminating your marriage, contact an experienced attorney from our firm online today.