Although a divorce and an annulment accomplish the same purpose—legal dissolution of a marriage so the parties are free to marry again—there is a fundamental difference between seeking a divorce and seeking an annulment. A divorce terminates a legal marriage, while an annulment legally dissolves a marriage that was already void or voidable under Connecticut law, i.e., you married someone who was already married or someone who was under the legal marriage age.
When Is an Annulment Available?
When one thinks of an annulment, often the typical Vegas wedding comes to mind. However, you may not seek an annulment simply because you have only been married for a short amount of time. You can seek an annulment if both parties agree that it was not their intent to enter into a legally binding marriage, i.e., they were both inebriated when the ceremony was performed. There are, however, other circumstances in which an annulment, as opposed to a divorce, is more appropriate. They include the following:
- You married someone to whom you are closely related
- You were already married at the time
- The other party was already married at the time, even if she or he did not realize it
- You were under 18 years of age and did not have the consent of your parents
- You were caused to marry by force, fraud, or duress
- There was a defect in the marriage ceremony
- You, or the other party, were mentally or physically incompetent
- There was a serious misrepresentation or concealment
The party seeking annulment bears the burden of proof in such matters, and not every marriage that might fall into one of the above categories will result in the granting of an annulment. It is important to contact an attorney to determine if an annulment or divorce is more appropriate for your situation.
Benefits of Annulment
One of the major benefits of annulment is that Connecticut property distribution laws are often inapplicable because the marriage is considered to have been completely void. Accordingly, the courts will attempt to restore the parties to the position they were in before the marriage, as if the marriage never took place. Further, with an annulment you are free to claim that you were never married, because legally it has been declared that you were not for one of the aforementioned reasons. Annulments in Connecticut can be complicated, but for some, it is the best option to pursue.
Contact a Connecticut Family Law and Annulment Attorney with Questions
If you are considering dissolving your marriage and have questions regarding what type of dissolution is best suited for you, contact the Law Offices of Piazza, Simmons & Grant. Call our Stamford office at (203) 348-2465 or contact us online for a no-risk, confidential consultation.