October 12, 2016 By Paul Wallin

Most everyone understands what a divorce is, but this isn’t the only legal method for dissolving your marriage in California. In some cases, it may be better to seek an annulment.

The Difference Between Divorce and Annulment in California

In California, a divorce is the legal termination of a marriage or domestic partnership. A divorce can be filed due to irreconcilable differences or the fact that the spouse has permanent legal incapacity to make decisions. California is a no-fault divorce state, so a spouse or domestic partner does not need a specific reason (such as adultery) to dissolve the relationship. Even if the one spouse does not want to get a divorce, the divorce process won’t stop (unless both spouses agree to remain married before the divorce is finalized).

Unlike a divorce, which acknowledges the validity of a marriage or domestic partnership, an annulment terminates the relationship by declaring it null and void. An annulment declares that the marriage was never legal, so it will be as if it never happened.

In order to get your marriage annulled, it must be shown that it was not legal. Examples of illegal marriages include:

  • The people in the relationship are close blood relatives
  • One of the people in the relationship is married or in a domestic partnership with another person
  • One party was under the legal age to marry at the time
  • One party was unsound of mind to understand the nature of the marriage and the obligations included in it
  • One party married as a result of force or fraud (such as marrying solely to obtain a green card)
  • One party was physically incapacitated to consummate the marriage

Should I Get an Annulment or Divorce?

If you qualify for an annulment, it is likely best to seek this method for the dissolution of your marriage. An annulment does not involve a lengthy legal process like a divorce. However, keep in mind that there must be valid legal reasons to qualify for an annulment.

As a result of a marriage or domestic partnership being annulled, both parties will return to their financial status prior to the marriage. If you wish to divide your marital assets or seek spousal support, it is best to file for divorce. It is best to consult with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your legal options before you proceed with the dissolution of your marriage.

Call the Divorce Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved one are considering a divorce or an annulment, it’s important to have an experienced family law attorney by your side to help you understand which course of action is best for you. At Wallin & Klarich, our divorce attorneys have been successfully representing clients and their interests in family law cases for over 35 years. We can help you now.

With offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Torrance, Victorville and West Covina, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich family law attorney available near you no matter your location.

Call us at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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