Are you looking to end your marriage? Are you uncertain whether you qualify for an annulment or a divorce? There are a few things that you should know about both. Here are the differences as well as what your family law attorney can do to help you.

Ask a Family Law Attorney: What Is the Difference Between Divorce and Annulment?

If you are in a marriage that you wish to end, you have two options: divorce and annulment. Divorce is a legal termination of a legally valid marriage. Once the divorce is completed, the former spouses are declared single again.

An annulment is a legal ruling that ends a marriage by determining that the union was never legally valid, therefore making it null and void. That said, a record of the marriage will still be retained since annulment doesn't mean the marriage never occurred. It simply means that the marriage was not valid in the eyes of the law.

Legal Grounds for Divorce

When it comes to both divorce and annulments, legal grounds will be considered. In Texas, divorces can be fault or no-fault. No-fault divorces, or divorces on the grounds of insupportability, mean that neither party did anything wrong, necessarily, and there is simply a lack of compatibility.

Fault divorces include grounds like cruelty, abuse, separation, adultery, and felony convictions. While these divorces can take longer and become more complicated, they may be the best way for you to get justice if you have been wronged or harmed during the marriage.

Legal Grounds for Annulment

Some people mistakenly believe that an annulment can occur if a marriage was short-lived, but this isn't the case. There are specific situations that would render a marriage legally null. You may seek out an annulment if you or your spouse believe something was legally invalid about your marriage.

For instance, if one or both of you were forced or tricked into the marriage, if one of you was already married to another person at the time of your marriage, or if one or both of you were not of legal age to marry, this would qualify the marriage for an annulment.


For a marriage to be annulled, it must meet the above criteria. Even if you were married only a few weeks, if there was nothing legally nullifying the marriage, then you would have to seek a divorce rather than an annulment.

However, if you have been married for a long time, then your marriage may no longer qualify for an annulment. Conversely, some states will require that you are married for a certain amount of time before you can get a divorce. In Texas, for example, you need to wait at least 60 days before your divorce can be granted.

What Happens After a Divorce or Annulment?

After a divorce, you and your spouse may still have some legal obligations to each other. For instance, depending on your circumstances one of you may need to pay the other spousal support. You will also have to divide your property.

With an annulment, it's like the marriage legally never occurred. So, for example, when it comes to finances and property division there will be no legal obligations for either of you to divide anything or pay support. You'll simply return to your financial state before the marriage.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

Seeking Annulment Over Divorce

If you aren't sure whether you qualify for an annulment or if it's better to seek out a divorce, your divorce lawyer in Sugar Land, TX can help. They'll look at your case and let you know if you could qualify for an annulment or if you need to file a divorce petition.

Once you and your lawyer determine what the best course of action for you is, they'll also help you follow all the necessary steps. Both divorces and annulments can bring about a lot of stress, but your lawyer will work hard to keep the process as smooth as possible.

Lawyers Know the Law

You likely don't have the same kind of training and expertise that a lawyer does. This can put you at a huge disadvantage when it comes to divorcing or getting an annulment, especially if the other party has legal representation.

Your lawyer will help you understand the complexities of the law and explain any confusing jargon that you may run into. They'll also ensure that your rights are respected and that you get the best possible outcome despite the stress that a marriage or annulment can bring.

Ending a marriage is never an easy thing, but having the right support behind you can help keep the process smooth. If you are looking to end your marriage, understanding whether you qualify for an annulment or a divorce is the first step. Remember to also hire a lawyer to help you.