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How annulment and divorce are different

by | Jan 4, 2023 | Divorce, Family Law

Annulment and divorce are two legal options that Florida residents have for marriage dissolution. While divorce is a lot more common, the term annulment appears in television and movies often enough to sound familiar to many. Unfortunately, entertainment has largely gotten the idea of an annulment wrong, which has led to some confusion on what one is, and how it’s different from divorce. One of the critical things to know is that annulments aren’t an option for everyone.


There is a common misconception that an annulment dissolves a marriage, and then it will legally have never happened. In either an annulment or a divorce, the marriage will still be on legal records.

An annulment happens when a marriage was never legally valid. This means that something about marriage itself was not legitimate. Examples of reasons that people file for annulment include:

  • Alcohol, drugs, or mental disability made one or both of the spouses unable to decide to marry
  • Either of the spouses was legally married to someone else at the time of the new marriage
  • A significant issue, such as criminal history, was kept a secret from one of the spouses at the time of the marriage
  • A deception at the time of the marriage tricked one of the spouses

There are just a few examples of ways a marriage could qualify for an annulment as a means of marriage dissolution.

In contrast, a divorce is a way to end a legally formed marriage. This is the situation for most spouses as they end their marriage.

There are also misconceptions about the cost of divorce versus an annulment. It’s impossible to say which option is less expensive regarding legal fees. In either situation, one or both spouses can file to end the marriage, and the parties do not have to agree. When both spouses agree to most of the terms to end the marriage using an annulment or a divorce, the process becomes faster and less expensive. If the spouses disagree, the issue will take more time and money.

Annulments and divorces are both complicated legal proceedings with a lot to consider. For most people, annulments aren’t a legal option because their marriage does not qualify.