An annulment in Georgia happens when a judge issues an order declaring a marriage nonexistent. These orders commonly address unusual circumstances that make a marriage invalid. Divorce and annulment are similar in that they put an end to marriage but differ in how the court views the marriage. The record will show that a divorcee entered into a previous marriage, but for all practical purposes, an annulled marriage never took place.
Reasons for an annulment
There are multiple reasons a court will grant an annulment. These include:
- Misrepresentation – One party to the marriage lied about something important like age or past marital history.
- Concealment – A spouse hid a pertinent fact about themselves like past criminal history from the other.
- Lack of mental capacity – A spouse was either forced into wedlock or lacked the mental capacity to agree to a marriage.
- Familial ties – The two parties are relatives not permitted to marry.
Differences between divorce and annulment
Considering several hypothetical situations may better demonstrate the differences between a divorce and an annulment. For example, one couple who was married for several years decides they no longer want to be partners. Both spouses mutually agree to call it quits. This situation constitutes a valid marriage that ends in divorce.
The second couple is happily married until the wife discovers letters demanding child support payments from her husband. This discovery leads to the subsequent revelation that the husband left his previous family shortly before meeting his new wife. The new wife was unaware that her husband was married previously. She was also unaware of the children. The fact that he concealed the previous marriage and presence of children makes the new marriage invalid. The wife can file a petition for annulment.
It’s not easy to end a spousal relationship, but the termination of marriage is a common occurrence that can happen for many reasons. Individuals who need to terminate a marriage may find it helpful to speak with a family law attorney about their options.