Like a divorce, an annulment is a court procedure that dissolves a marriage. But, unlike a divorce, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened. For some people, divorce carries a stigma, so they prefer to have their marriage annulled. Others choose annulment because it may be easier to remarry in the church if they go through a civil annulment rather than a divorce.
- Introduction: A basic introduction to annulments, the purpose they serve, and when an annulment may be appropriate.
- Annulment vs. Divorce: Like a divorce, an annulment is a court procedure that dissolves a marriage. But, unlike a divorce, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened.
- Void Marriages: Marriages void ab initio("from inception") do not legally exist in the first place because they are against the law in most states.
- Voidable Marriages: Marriages voidable nun pro tunc ("from now for then") are legal, but flawed in such a way that the law says they are not recognized.
- Grounds for Annulment: Annulment laws vary from state to state. The rules for statutes of limitation are especially complicated because they depend not only on state law, but also on the reason a party asks the court for an annulment.
- Common Law and Annulments: Grounds for annulment may be set forth by statute or, in many jurisdictions, common-law grounds suffice.
- Religious Annulments: Within the Roman Catholic Church, a couple may obtain a religious annulment after obtaining a civil divorce (or a civil annulment), so that one or both people may remarry within the church and have the second marriage recognized by the church.
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