Understanding the Difference Between Divorce and Annulment in Pennsylvania
Getting a divorce and annulling a marriage may seem to be essentially one and the same thing. However, divorce and annulment are different, and the main difference has to do with whether a marriage is valid in the first place. Divorce often involves additional domestic issues such as child custody, child support, distribution of marital assets, and spousal support. Annulment, on the other hand, is when a marriage essentially ceases to exist as if the marriage never happened. A court will ultimately determine if a marriage can be annulled or if a marriage must be terminated by divorce.
Getting a Divorce
When a married couple decides to get a divorce, one or both spouses will file for divorce in court. As part of getting a divorce, a court will resolve all other potential issues involving children, property and the need for spousal support or alimony. The effect of a divorce is to end any legal obligation the spouses have to one another, and once a divorce is finalized, the ex-spouses are free to remarry. When divorces are uncontested, the process can go much smoother as both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce. When divorces are contested, the process can be very complicated and stressful. As such, you should consider working alongside an attorney if your divorce matter involves multiple sub-issues such as child support, child custody or spousal support.
Annulling a Marriage
A court may order an annulment of a marriage if the marriage was invalid to begin with. An annulment of a marriage may involve issues of child custody, child support, distribution of assets and spousal support. However, a significant number of annulments involve only a purported marriage and not any additional family law issues. Grounds for annulling a marriage include, among others, the following:
- The marriage was between two family members
- The spouse(s) were legally married at the time they entered into a second marriage
- The marriage was forced upon one spouse
- The marriage was based on fraud
- The spouse(s) did not have the requisite mental capacity to consent to the marriage
- The spouse(s) were below the legal age of marriage; an
- The spouse(s) were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage.
As with a divorce, once a marriage is annulled, the parties are free to marry another person. As such, while divorce and annulment are two very different things in one respect, they both have the same result of making clear that two spouses no longer have legal obligations to one another aside from any matters ordered by the court.
Contact the Harshberger Law Firm LLC Today to Schedule Your Consultation
Ending a marriage can be emotionally painful and stressful regardless of why a married couple has decided to terminate their marriage. As such, it takes a caring, understanding, and diligent attorney to help clients seek resolution of their family law matter in the fairest way possible. At the Harshberger Law Firm LLC, we have seen just how devastating divorce can be for many clients, and we do our best to help our clients find a way forward after a very difficult time. To learn more about divorce and annulment in Pennsylvania, it may be time to speak with a qualified Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney who can provide you with various legal options to meet your individual needs. To speak with a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney about your legal matter, contact the Harshberger Law Firm LLC today by calling (717) 315-6997 to schedule a free consultation. You may also contact us online, and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.