An Annulment is NOT the Same Things As a Divorce

Most spouses who are thinking of getting a divorce have also heard of the term annulment. Plenty of people believe that a divorce (called a dissolution of marriage in Florida) and annulment are synonymous. Simply put, that’s not the case. 

It’s true that both legal procedures end with two unmarried individuals, but fundamental legal differences exist: 

  • A divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage so that two spouses become unmarried. 
  • An annulment is a legal process determining that two individuals were never married in the first place. Therefore, both “spouses” were never really spouses, and their status, today and all along, has been single/unmarried. 

Proving Grounds for Annulment is Difficult

As long as someone becomes legally and properly married, getting a divorce is fairly easy in Florida. A spouse simply has to fill out a few forms and attest that the marriage is irretrievably broken to get the ball rolling. Some states allow adultery and abuse for at-fault divorces, but Florida is not one of them. Conversely, the barrier to entry for an annulment is high.

Void vs. Voidable

Depending on the reason for an annulment in Florida, the “marriage” is either void or voidable. A void marriage in Florida results in what many people consider to be a “true” annulment, which means the marriage was never valid in the first place. The grounds for a void marriage and, thus, annulment in Florida are: 

  • Bigamy (one or both spouses were already married prior to becoming “married”)
  • Incest (spouses are closely related by blood)
  • Spouses were unable to legally consent due to age or mental incapacity. 

Voidable marriages are somewhat different from void marriages. A voidable marriage is a marriage that was initially valid but has since had its legality called into question after a spouse learned something about the other spouse. A voidable marriage is sometimes classified as such because a spouse engaged in fraud in order to marry. Other conditions that make for a voidable marriage in Florida include: 

  • Marrying due to coercion or force
  • Impotence that was unknown to the other spouse before marriage
  • Temporary mental incapacity. 

The differences between void and voidable marriages are subtle but consequential. 

Contact a Qualified Family Law Attorney to See if You Qualify for an Annulment

In most cases, the only option for spouses is a divorce. In all cases, getting an annulment is more complicated than getting a divorce. However, what’s best for you and your situation can only be determined after a consultation with an experienced Florida family law attorney. 

The Law Offices of Ray Garcia, P.A. understands the stress of any family law matter. We pledge to represent you with dignity and respect. Reach out to our team today to schedule a time to talk about your legal needs.