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What is a civil annulment?

A lot of people who want to dissolve their marriage think that there's only one option: divorce. While this is by far the most common means to split, there is also the possibility of getting an annulment. Both annulments and divorces do the same thing, but there is one important difference. In a divorce, your marriage is recognized as valid whereas an annulment erases all evidence of the marriage. Essentially, getting an annulment will make it look like you were never married.

Some people get annulments for religious reasons while others want any trace of the marriage completely gone. Because the result goes past that of a simple divorce, annulments are harder to get. In order to get one, you would need to show one of the following reasons:

  • Concealment. If your spouse hid something major from you, like a child, a drinking problem or a disease, an annulment may be possible.
  • Incest or impotency. If one spouse is completely impotent and you didn't know it before getting married, the courts may grant an annulment. This is also true if the married couple is a close familial relation.
  • Consent. An annulment may be granted if one spouse didn't have the mental capacity to agree to the marriage.
  • Fraud. Grounds for an annulment also include things like marrying for a green card, lying about fertility or being married to someone else.

If you have questions about divorce or annulment, an attorney can answer them and may be able to help you through the process.

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