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The difference between an annulment and a divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Divorce

In Michigan, the end of a marriage can legally occur in two ways: divorce or annulment. Both processes legally terminate a marriage, but they differ significantly in their implications and prerequisites.

Discerning between annulment and divorce is crucial for individuals considering the end of their marriage.

Understanding annulment

An annulment effectively erases a marriage, stating it was invalid from the outset due to factors that prohibited a legal union. In Michigan, grounds for annulment include fraud, bigamy, inability to consummate the marriage, a party was underage at the time of the marriage, mental incompetence or coercion into the marriage.

The burden of proof falls on the party seeking the annulment. They must present evidence demonstrating one of the aforementioned grounds existed at the time of marriage. Importantly, children born during an annulled marriage are not considered illegitimate in Michigan.

Understanding divorce

A divorce, on the other hand, recognizes a marriage was valid but has irretrievably broken down. Michigan is a no-fault divorce state, meaning a spouse does not need to prove the other spouse did something wrong to file for divorce. The only requirement is that at least one spouse must have resided in Michigan for 180 days before filing.

Divorce proceedings in Michigan address issues such as property division, spousal support, child custody and child support. Both spouses have rights to marital property and may receive a portion in the final settlement.

Choosing between annulment and divorce

Choosing between annulment and divorce depends on the individual’s circumstances and preferences. Some might prefer annulment for religious or cultural reasons or to avoid the stigma associated with divorce. Others might opt for divorce because it may be simpler to prove the breakdown of the marriage rather than meeting the specific grounds for annulment.

Understanding the differences between annulment and divorce can help individuals make an informed decision about which course of action best suits their circumstances and meets their needs.