As divorce lawyers in Perth, we’re often asked ‘what’s the difference between divorce and annulment?’.
The answer is quite simple and it depends on your personal circumstances.
Ella Hickman, our principal family lawyer at Hickman Family Lawyers, explains the difference between getting a divorce and getting an annulment.
The Definition of Divorce
A divorce is technically defined as a legal manner in which to end a marriage.
It recognises the fact that a marriage took place and existed for a defined period of time, and was then legally finalised.
The Definition of Annulment
An annulment is a declaration that the marriage was not valid, and therefore is not recognised as having taken place at all.
There do have to be valid grounds for an annulment. If the marriage is seen as a legal marriage, then an annulment cannot be granted and a divorce must be sought instead.
Circumstances For Divorce
You would seek a divorce if there are irreconcilable differences between the two people in the marriage.
In Australia, we have a no-fault divorce system, meaning that you do not have to prove why you want to get a divorce. You do not have to prove why the marriage has broken down – you only have to state there is no way the marriage can continue.
Circumstances For Annulment
An annulment does require a specific circumstance to apply to your situation.
These are the only circumstances in which an annulment can be granted in Australia:
- One party was already married at the time of the marriage in question
- The relationship is legally prohibited (e.g. between family members)
- The marriage ceremony was not legally conducted (e.g. the venue or celebrant did not hold the relevant marriage license)
- Either person was not of legal age to be married (under 18)
- Either person did not give their consent (e.g. a forced marriage, mistaken identity or mentally incapable of understanding what they were doing at the time of the marriage)
Not consummating a marriage is not grounds for an annulment.
The Key Difference Between Divorce & Annulment
The key difference between divorce and annulment is that a divorce legally ends a marriage that was legally recognised.
An annulment dissolves a marriage and instead treats it as if it never happened in the first place. Neither party will be seen as being married to each other and are then free to move on with their life, not as a divorcee, but as a single person.
Are you looking for help with getting a divorce?
Need to speak to a divorce lawyer in Perth who will take the time to understand your personal situation and help you find the best solution?
Call Hickman Family Lawyers in Perth today on 08 6381 9444 and book a free 15-minute phone consultation with one of our friendly family lawyers.