Although spouses never set out with the intent to end their marriage, sometimes it is for the best. In Florida, there are two ways to dissolve a marriage: divorce and annulment. There are fundamental differences between these two options. Understanding these differences can help individuals determine which option applies to their specific situation.
Annulments and criteria
An annulment is when a marriage is formally declared to be null and void. When a couple gets an annulment, it’s as if they were never legally married. However, couples in Florida are only eligible for annulments in certain limited situations. The most common scenarios for annulments include a marriage that happened through fraud or coercion, when one spouse was legally married to someone else, when an underage spouse married without consent or when one or both parties were not of sound mind at the time of the marriage. Most annulments happen within the first year or two of marriage.
Divorce is the most common option for ending a marriage. There are different types of divorce, such as fault or no-fault divorce. Florida is known as a no-fault state, meaning that it is not necessary to prove fault grounds to get divorced. In its most basic form, a divorce is the lawful termination of a marriage and both spouses go back to being single. The divorce process resolves important issues surrounding child custody, child support and property division.
In Florida, it is presumed that all marriages are legal and valid. Because of the circumstances required for annulments, it is not guaranteed that a judge will grant one. If a spouse does not meet the requirements for an annulment, a divorce must be filed instead. There are many financial and legal implications that come with ending a marriage. It makes sense to speak with an experienced family law attorney before making any big decisions.