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Is there an advantage to annulment over divorce?

We have written several posts in the past few months examining the differences between annulment and divorce in Ohio. Regular readers will appreciate that annulment and divorce are two forms of marriage dissolution that are available under state law, but that obtaining an annulment isn't possible for everyone. Certain restrictions apply.

Also, some might well argue that, in many cases, seeking a no-fault or uncontested divorce may be faster, easier, and less costly than an annulment or going to trial for divorce. That's could be debated. So, what might make an annulment more appealing? Read on to learn.

First, let's review how the two differ. A divorce represents the state's recognition that a couple has irreconcilable differences and agrees to allow the pair to break the marriage contract. The action can come shortly after the marriage or many years down the road. An annulment differs in that it is a finding by the state that the marriage was never valid to begin with and so is voided. It is as if it never occurred.

Typically, if conditions for annulment exist, the petition must be filed within two years of the marriage or two years of discovering one of the other allowable circumstances.

Many legal observers will agree that the question of property division may be a key factor in deciding whether to divorce or seek an annulment. If legal grounds for either divorce or annulment exist, property division will likely be handled differently under the two processes. In divorce, marital property is subject to equitable distribution between the couple. In a contested divorce situation, it might be possible to seek attorney fees and spousal support.

Such remedies would not be available through annulment. So, if property is not an issue and the desire is to break all ties with the other party completely, annulment might be preferred since it erases the marriage from the record. Also, since annulment grounds come with a time frame for action, resolution of issues is often less complicated, keeping costs about the same as a divorce.

What is common to both situations is the value and importance of working with skilled legal counsel delivers.

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