What’s The Difference Between a Religious Annulment and a Legal Annulment?

Posted in Divorce on April 18, 2018

Many people would like to end their marriages by annulment rather than divorce. Annulment seems to be a “nicer” way to do it; yet, qualifying for an annulment from our courts is very rare.

First of all, one must seek an annulment as soon as one discovers that one qualifies for it. Why? Because our courts do not want to allow a person who qualifies for an annulment to “hold it over the head” of the other party in an attempt to control that other party’s behavior.

The usual reasons that people think they qualify are actually urban legends and are not reasons for annulments in court. You cannot get an annulment because you haven’t been married very long or never “consummated” the marriage or never lived together or did not live together very long. Yes, most people have heard from others claiming to have gotten an annulment for those reasons; but, what they are leaving out of their stories is they either got their annulments in another state, not in Pennsylvania, or, far more likely, they got a divorce in court and then got an annulment through their church or other religious affiliation and choose only to say they ended their marriages through annulment.

Who does qualify for an annulment in a Pennsylvania court? Those who married someone too closely related by blood, those who were too drunk or high to know what they did, those physically forced or otherwise coerced into a marriage (the “shotgun” wedding from old movies), those who married someone planning to have children but the other party had concealed the fact that he or she knew that was a physical impossibility for him or her. Remember, once those grounds for annulment are discovered, the annulment must be filed immediately.

Finally, annulments do not happen magically. There is still a court procedure with lawyer and court fees just as in a divorce and, if the other party does not want an annulment, it can be contested just like a divorce. Also, an annulment is no faster than a divorce. In fact, in certain circumstances, a divorce can be much quicker.

Now you know that court annulments work only is relatively rare situations. Only a very tiny number of marriages are ended that way. Remember, in a no-fault divorce, neither party is blamed for ending the marriage. It happens to half of all marriage and is not a subject of shame anymore…it is the way to a new life and better future.

If you have things to settle I can help you. I urge you to call me, Monday through Friday, noon to 3 PM, toll-free at 1-800-486-4070, BEFORE you begin your case, for an absolutely free consultation about your particular situation. Alternatively, you can read our free information guide which answers many questions you may have before your divorce.