When two people no longer want to live as a married couple, it is natural to explore all options that lead to the end of a marriage. Divorce is one option that most adults know about, but an alternative to the traditional divorce is an annulment. An annulment occurs when the marriages is declared invalid and void retroactively treating the union as if it never existed. Typically associated with various religions, annulment is an option for those who do not wish to be married but who do not want to be considered divorced. Before exploring the process, you must decide if an annulment is better than a divorce in your specific circumstances.
Social Standing in a Religion
Annulment is largely tied to various religions because in some faiths being divorced carries serious social stigma. A religious denomination that firmly believes marriage is a lifelong commitment that cannot be dissolved through secular proceedings may penalize practitioners who get divorced. Punishment could involve anything from exclusion from specific religious functions to being banned from participating as an active member. A person who obtains an annulment instead of a divorce is typically able to avoid losing any influence or social standing within their religious community since the annulled marriage is treated as if it never occurred.
One of the most difficult parts of a divorce is the process of asset division. Both parties want to receive what they feel they are entitled to and do not want to agree to any division that leaves them at a financial disadvantage. When a marriage is annulled property division is not an issue since if there was no marriage there is no property to divide. Any traditional marital property rights become voided with the marriage and each adult is only entitled to the property in their name. In some circumstances, one partner may be able to obtain temporary alimony but not permanent alimony or any other types of support or consideration that a divorced spouse may be entitled to receive.
When an annulment is granted, the marriage is voided and children of the relationship face losing the presumed legitimacy that the children of a married couple are granted. In most situations, if you and your partner had children together during the time when the marriage was considered to be valid then you may not be able to file for an annulment. An attorney would need to review your situation to see if you meet the requirements for an annulment in Georgia even though there were children born during the relationship.
Talk to an Attorney
The best way to determine if an annulment is a reasonable option for your situation or something you can obtain is to talk to a family law attorney. A qualified lawyer can give you the legal advice you need in order to make such an important decision. The team of Vayman & Teitelbaum know that the course you choose can greatly impact your future. We are available to provide you with the representation needed to protect your best interests. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta, Georgia offices so that we can begin providing you with the help that you need.