When it comes to ending a marriage in Florida, divorce is by far the most popular method. But some couples also qualify for an annulment, which they may prefer for financial or cultural reasons.
Annulment vs. divorce
Essentially, a divorce ends a legally recognized marriage. On the other hand, an annulment makes it so that, in the eyes of the law, the marriage never existed. Florida law only recognizes the right to annul a marriage in very limited situations, which can be grouped into two categories: void marriages and voidable marriages. As those terms imply, a void marriage is one that the law automatically does not recognize, such as when one of the spouses was already married to someone else when the second wedding occurred.
A voidable marriage is one that lets one or both spouses seek an annulment, but it is not required. If both spouses choose, they can stay married. Examples of voidable marriages include:
- One of you lacked the ability to consent to getting married, often due to being impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time
- One of the parties knew they were impotent and did not tell the other one before the wedding
- One of the parties withheld certain facts from the other person that, had they known, they would never have agreed to the marriage
Getting an annulment can be a very different process than going through divorce. But if you have children with your spouse, you will still need to determine matters like child support and parenting time.
If you think you might prefer an annulment over a divorce, you should discuss your options with a family law attorney.