The vast majority of Florida residents who enter into marriage do so with a sincere intent to create a lifelong partnership. In some cases, however, it swiftly becomes apparent that the marriage is unsustainable. Faced with reality of the divorce, many people wonder if their circumstances make it possible to get an annulment. One benefit of an annulment is the elimination of any claim of spousal support by either party.
A divorce is the legal end of a marriage. An annulment, on the other hand, is a legal declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with. Obtaining an annulment is not a simple or easy matter, and certain requirements must be met. Not every marriage can be annulled, even those that are very short in duration.
In the state of Florida, one of a short list of legal grounds must be met. A marriage can be annulled if one spouse was already married, if the couple is closely related or if one spouse lacks the mental capacity to consent to marriage. Annulment is also granted if one party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of marriage. If one party agreed to marry the other due to misrepresentations or fraud, the marriage may also be annulled.
An annulment may also be possible if one or both spouses were under duress or was underage at the time of marriage. Impotency on the part of one spouse that was not disclosed to the other is also grounds for annulment. Finally, a marriage can be voided if one or both parties entered into the union as a joke or lark.
The difference between divorce and annulment can be significant, especially for Florida spouses who are concerned about property division or spousal support claims. If an annulment is obtained, neither party has any recourse to seek spousal support. That can mean significant savings, especially over the course of time.
Source: Women's Health, "What's The Difference Between A Divorce And An Annulment?", Macaela MacKenzie, Sept. 7, 2017