What’s the Difference Between Annulment and Divorce?
Annulments render the marriage as never existing in the first place. Additionally, not all the typical issues are decided in annulment cases, like alimony. Alimony may not be awarded in a Georgia annulment case.
Annulments and divorce both end a marriage. However, a divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body. Divorce recognizes the marriage having occurred at one point. Alimony can be awarded in a divorce.
What is an annulment
An annulment is a way to end a marriage other than divorce and legal separation. It voids a marriage and treats the marriage as if it never existed in the first place. In other words, the marriage is prohibited by law for one reason or another. This is opposed to a divorce and legal separation, which recognizes that the marriage did exist. Remember, every married couple cannot get an annulment; you must meet your specific state laws. The typical grounds for an annulment include marrying multiple people (bigamy), incestuous marriages, underage marriages, fraudulent or coerced marriages, among others.
How Do Annulments Work in Georgia?
In Georgia, in order to get an annulment, one of the following must be true:
- One or both parties were mentally incompetent at the time of the marriage;
- One or both parties were under the age of 16 at the time of the marriage (and didn’t get permission from their parents);
- One or both parties consented to the marriage based on fraud, force, or duress;
- One party is still legally married to another living person;
- The parties are closely related by blood or otherwise.
Note that you may not get an annulment in Georgia if you have children (O.C.G.A. § 19-4-1). The non-existence of the marriage may call into question the paternity of the children. However, Georgia prevents this from happening by not allowing annulments by couples who have children. If you have children, you must go through the normal divorce proceedings, even if one or more of the grounds for annulment is true in your case.
If any of the previously listed grounds are true, then the marriage is likely void, and you may request an annulment from the court (as long as there are no children of the marriage). Annulment legal proceedings are similar to divorce legal proceedings in the sense that you must plead certain documents, serve your spouse, and legal procedure. The spouse who wants to file for annulment must also serve the petition and the responding spouse must file an answer, just like a divorce. The one major difference between annulment and divorce procedure in Georgia is that if the responding spouse does not respond within 30 days of service of the petition, the court may enter an order without a hearing.
What about alimony and property division?
Like most states, Georgia does not award alimony in an annulment case. However, it does allow for property and debt division. Georgia state law allows the courts to equitably divide the parties’ assets and debts in an annulment case.
What is the effect of an annulment?
The effect of an annulment is the same as a divorce; the marriage is ended and you may re-marry. The parties’ status returns to unmarried/single.
Why get an annulment over a divorce?
Deciding to get an annulment over a divorce is a personal decision. Perhaps religious beliefs may lead one to prefer getting an annulment over a divorce to avoid religious stigma.
What are the benefits?
There are no specific special benefits of getting annulment over a divorce or legal separation. It may actually be more detrimental to get an annulment because alimony may not be awarded.
However, you could consider one benefit of getting an annulment the difference in legal procedure in Georgia. In Georgia, if the responding spouse does not respond within 30 days to the petition, after proper service of petition and summons, then the judge may enter an order without a hearing. This is not the case in divorce proceedings. So, in such case, an annulment may be quicker for some people.
Do I need a lawyer to get an annulment in Georgia?
While it is not a requirement to hire a lawyer for a legal separation, divorce, or annulment, it is highly recommended for all three. To get the most desirable outcome for your case, hiring a lawyer is crucial. Without a lawyer, you must fill out and file all of the correct paperwork, appear in front of a judge on behalf of yourself, and correspond with the opposing party’s lawyer. Additionally, most people are not familiar with Georgia family law, so unrepresented parties may oversee certain rights that they are entitled to.
Caryn did an excellent job on my case. She was professional, communicative, and thorough. She did an amazing job of getting things done in a timely manner, and is extremely well versed in the law. I highly recommend her services.
Caryn helped my entire family after my sister suddenly died and my niece was orphaned a few days later when her father to died to. Caryn worked wonders for my family and my niece. I will forever thank her for what she did for all of us. I’ve had too many lawyers but Caryn is the top gun.
Caryn is very knowledgeable and had my best interest in the fore front. I trust her and would use her and recommend her to anyone that wanted the best lawyer!
I give her the highest marks any review could let me give. Trust Mrs. Fennell. She is smart and she knows how to maneuver a case and she knows how to win. She is one of the best in the Atlanta area.
Thank you Caryn for all you have done on my case. Thank you for being mindful of my delicate financial situation and for truly FIGHTING for me! Since you have gotten involved my case has turned completely around.
I was overwhelmed at what Caryn accomplished in such a short amount of time for me! I couldn’t have asked for a better attorney than her in this time of need! I would recommend Caryn to anyone in need at anytime. Thanks.
Atlanta's Top Rated Divorce Attorneys
The legal system can intimidate anyone. Do not face legal challenges alone! As your local family law attorneys, we can help solve your legal crisis and give you the answers you need. Our experienced family law attorneys will help you with your legal situation.
As your local family law attorneys, we can help solve your legal crisis and give you the answers you need. Our family law attorneys will help you with your legal matter. Our experienced attorneys work tirelessly, day in and day out, to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their situation.