After How Many Years of Separation a Marriage Annulled: Everything You Need To Know

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It’s crucial to grasp what to do next when marriages fail. The only legitimate reason to grant you a divorce is because your marriage has failed. Another option is to obtain an annulment; however, this is only appropriate in specific circumstances. Continue reading to learn more about the distinctions between a divorce and an annulment and to determine which one is more appropriate for your circumstances.

Divorce and Annulment: Definitions

The most significant distinction between a divorce and an annulment is that a divorce terminates a legally valid marriage, but an annulment formally proclaims a marriage to be legally null.


a legally lawfully dissolved, ended, and separated marriage. A divorce proclaims the couple to be legally divorced and ends their marriage.


a court decision that annuls a marriage and declares that it was never legally valid. Even if a marriage is annulled, the documents related to it are still kept on file. An annulment merely establishes that the marriage was never legally legitimate, not that it never took place.

Legal Reasons for Divorce vs. Annulment

In law, “grounds” are the reasons for a decision’s justification. There are various reasons for seeking a divorce rather than an annulment. At its foundation, divorce occurs when one or both spouses wish to quit the union.

You and your husband must be separated for a year.

You must have been apart from your spouse for at least a year if you wish to formally dissolve your marriage. In most cases, the divorce procedure can begin before the 12-month milestone, but it cannot be finalized until the 12-month period has passed.

You must live apart from your spouse for a year to terminate your marriage.

If you can show that you and your husband have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months, the law will agree that your marriage has ended.

Although it depends on your unique circumstances, the court may rule that you are living separately and apart, despite residing on the same property. This is the most common ground for divorce because it requires less evidence and is less likely to be contested.

After How Many Years of Separation a Marriage Annulled: Divorce with and without fault

Adultery, jail, or abandonment are common reasons for fault divorces. Neither side must establish their spouse’s fault in a no-fault divorce for the divorce to be granted. In every state, fault-free divorce is permissible. A common justification for a no-fault divorce is “irreconcilable disagreements.”

Whatever the case, the divorced couple may still have disagreements over assets, debts, child custody, and other issues that need to be resolved by court rulings. Divorces with a fault can result in greater payouts for the partner who wasn’t at fault.

After How Many Years of Separation a Marriage Annulled: Annulment

A marriage that at least one of the parties believes should have never taken place is annulled. The legal grounds for getting an annulment differ from state to state. In most circumstances, one or more of the following must be present to qualify for an annulment:

  • One or both spouses were coerced or duped into marriage.
  • One or both couples were unable to make a marriage decision owing to a mental handicap, drugs, or alcohol.
  • At the time of the marriage, one or both spouses were married (bigamy).
  • Both partners may not have been of legal age to wed.
  • The marriage was incestuous.
  • One spouse kept a serious problem—like drug use, a criminal past, a kid, or an illness—from the other.
  • An annulment is far less frequent than a divorce since one of these requirements must be satisfied and legally established for one to be granted.

After How Many Years of Separation a Marriage Annulled: Annulment vs. Divorce Timing

Many people think that a very brief marriage can end in annulment because of its short duration. However, a brief duration is not a legal basis for annulment. The marriage must still satisfy one or more of the requirements above to be dissolved.

Furthermore, a long-term marriage may not be eligible for an annulment. Many states will not grant an annulment once a specified amount of time has passed. In California, for example, an annulment based on fraud must be obtained within four years of the discovery of the fraud (one party asserts that the other partner duped them into agreeing to the marriage).

Very soon after marriage, one may request an annulment. But in some states, a couple must have been married or cohabiting for a minimum amount of time (such as one or two years) before filing for divorce. In certain places, neither party can petition for divorce until the couple has lived apart for a certain amount of time.

In the wake of a divorce or annulment

An annulment deems a marriage to have never occurred legally, which is another distinction between the two types of marital breakups. The situation seems to have gone back in time to before the marriage. Following a divorce, the ex-spouses may still owe each other duties like spousal maintenance and property division.


Following a divorce, spouses frequently have the right to a set period of spousal maintenance, alimony, or a share of the assets acquired during the marriage.

In contrast, the parties to an annulment are not genuinely regarded as being valid spouses and are not granted these same privileges. Instead, they will return to their pre-marriage financial situation.


If a couple has kids even after their marriage is declared null and void, the kids are still regarded as “legitimate” because they weren’t conceived by unmarried parents. But in some places, the presumption of parentage shifts, and the judge must determine the children’s parentage as part of the annulment procedure.

Following that (or immediately in jurisdictions where the assumption remains the same), the court and/or the state can establish custody and support obligations, just as they would in a divorce procedure. Even if their parents’ marriage is deemed unlawful, children are still entitled to the support of both parents.

Religious Abolition

Many religions have rules about divorce and annulments. Permission is frequently obtained by religious clergy or by written instructions. Obtaining authorization from religious leaders to have an annulment or divorce is usually an entirely separate process from the legal process.
The rules of divorce and annulment in your religion sometimes affect whether one, both, or none of the couples have permission to marry again within the religion (or in a religious ceremony) or if you can engage in other religious rites.

FAQs on After How Many Years of Separation a Marriage Annulled

How can you obtain an annulment?

In most situations, you must legally obtain an annulment from a court, just as you would a divorce. Because annulments have a distinct and frequently higher standard of proof, you will require the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. For the court to issue an annulment, you and your counsel must present proof of the grounds for the annulment.

The procedure for religious annulments will vary depending on your denomination. To understand more about the procedure, speak with a religious leader.

What is the cost of getting an annulment?

The expense of annulment may be comparable to that of divorce. In both circumstances, you must pay court fees and, in most cases, retain a lawyer to represent you. And the costs will climb in both scenarios as the complications increase. Are both spouses in agreement on the annulment? Do they both agree on the case’s facts? Do they have kids? If there are any disagreements, the lawsuit will take longer and thus cost more.

Is annulment less difficult than divorce?

No, an annulment is not always easier than a divorce. Unless the marriage is voidable, it is usually easier to obtain a divorce than an annulment.

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