While a divorce is far and away the most common way to legally dissolve a marriage, there is another way, which is called an annulment. Annulment will only be applicable in certain instances, but there may be times when it makes more sense than a traditional divorce.
What’s the difference between an annulment and a divorce?
When a divorce is granted by the court, it means that the legal contract that bound the parties in marriage is terminated as of the date of the divorce decree, or some date specified therein. However, rather than dissolving the marriage contract, an annulment seeks to create the fiction that the marriage itself never occurred, usually because it shouldn’t have been allowed to happen in the first place.
Grounds for annulment in Georgia
As we know, there are certain prerequisites to getting married in the eyes of the law, such as consent and capacity to make the choice. As might be expected, many of the reason for an annulment will have to do with these concepts. The use of fraud to trick someone into a marriage, for example, might be a ground for annulment in Georgia. So too might the fact that one of the parties was unable to consent, such as because he or she was under the age of 16, did not have the psychological capacity or the person was capable of consent but was forced into the marriage against his or her will. There might also be more technical reasons for an annulment, such as the spouses being too closely related or one of them already being legally married to someone else.
Annulments are, to be sure, much rarer than divorces, but may be appropriate if the circumstances are right. There may be religious or other legal reasons for a person to want to be awarded an annulment rather than a divorce to end a marriage.