Understanding the Differences Between Divorce and Annulment in California

San Francisco CA divorce attorneysAt Fenchel Family Law, people often ask us whether they should seek a divorce or explore the possibility of getting an annulment. The thing is, these two options are very different from one another, and in many cases getting an annulment isn’t really an option.

The reason for this is simple. A divorce is a legal termination of an existing marriage or union. A petition for divorce can be filed for a variety of reasons that make reconciliation a challenging task, and a spouse/domestic partner does not need to have a specific reason to pursue a divorce.

On the other hand, annulments are meant to “cancel out” marriages that were never legal and should not have taken place from the get-go. This means that a marriage needs to fall under certain conditions before one or both of the spouses can bring forth a petition for an annulment.

In California, a marriage can be considered unlawful and subject to annulment for reasons such as:

  • One of the spouses is already in an existing, valid marriage
  • There is close blood relation between the partners
  • One party was a minor when the marriage took place
  • The marriage occurred due to fraud or coercion
  • One of the indviduals was not in a state of mind where he/she fully understood the nature of the marriage

The nature of annulment means that it “cancels out” everything about the marriage, which unlike divorce, does not involve a lengthy legal process. This makes it the ideal option for those looking to get out of a marriage that is unlawful. However, traditional divorce proceedings allow for the arrangement of spousal support and asset division, something that is worth keeping in mind. Remember, your best bet is to consult with a divorce attorney in California before taking any concrete steps.

Talk to A Qualified California Divorce Attorney

Have any questions about divorce, annulment, or any other matter relating to family law in California? We at Fenchel Family Law can offer the legal expertise that you need! Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation.