Marriage Dissolution: Discerning Between a Divorce and an Annulment

Many misconceptions surround the dissolution of marriage. The reason for this is because people largely tend not to talk about the end of their marriages. As a result, the process tends to be shrouded in mystery, particularly if you have never undergone a dissolution or are not familiar with anybody who has. One of the main misconceptions is that marriages can only end in divorce. The truth is you could choose to dissolve your union through either an annulment or a divorce, depending on your circumstances. Read on to discern the differences between a divorce and an annulment.

What is a divorce?

In order for you to successfully apply to have a divorce granted, you would have to prove that your union has broken down to an irreparable degree. This irretrievable breakdown translates into you and your spouse not being able ever to reconcile and be back together. One of the requirements before you can have your divorce granted is demonstrating to the court that you and your spouse have been living separately for at least a year. In addition to this, you can provide further proof of irreconcilability, which could be evidence of neglect, abuse, cheating and more.

What is an annulment?

When you are seeking dissolution of your marriage through annulment, it means you would like to nullify the entire union. As a result, there will never be any legal documents that would prove your marriage ever existed. However, opting to annulment is not as simple as merely stating you want no record of being married to this person. Before you can get the annulment, you need to prove at least one of the legal grounds that are required by the court. Some of the grounds why a marriage can be annulled include:

  • You or your spouse was already legally married when you were getting into your new union, which would make the new marriage null and void.
  • You and your spouse have a close degree of biological relation, and you were not privy of this connection when you were being joined in holy matrimony.
  • One of the parties in the marital union did not consent to get married.
  • You and your spouse did not meet all the legal stipulations of the Australian Marriage Act when you were getting married.
  • One or both of the spouses had not reached the legal marriageable age at the time of the union.

For more information, contact a family law solicitor.