Annulment vs. divorce: which to choose?

One of the biggest questions a married couple in Massachusetts may have when contemplating a split-up is whether to get an annulment or to get divorced. Whether an annulment or a divorce is pursued is a matter of simply placing a check in the right box on the couple’s petition. However, the two are quite different legal processes.

An annulment is basically an acknowledgement that a marriage never really existed. For this to be considered, a couple must sufficiently explain why their marriage was not valid, which can be a challenge. Meeting at least one of the following conditions is necessary to qualify: insanity, bigamy, force or fraud. Proving one of these conditions means a court trial has to take place.

With a divorce, the couple acknowledge that they were actually married and are interested in splitting up, often due to irreconcilable differences. With a divorce, a couple is particularly focused on how to divide their marital assets, such as the family home, their retirement funds and other valuable property. They also have to address matters including custody of the children if they have children, as well as spousal support.

Figuring out whether to choose the annulment route versus the divorce route can understandably be confusing. However, an attorney in Massachusetts can offer guidance to ensure that the right process is selected based on one’s needs. The attorney will also make sure that one’s rights are not violated during either process, with the goal being that one can move on from the split-up as financially secure as possible.

Source:, “What’s The Difference Between A Divorce And An Annulment?“, Macaela Mackenzie, Sept. 7, 2017