Difference Between Annulment and Divorce


A few days after your nuptials, you realize you made a huge error. But do not worry; you can obtain a divorce. Maybe not in North Carolina! You will need to get a divorce instead unless you fit into a few exact groups, and you can learn more here.

What does annulment mean? What distinguishes it from a divorce?

A judicial ruling declaring your marriage invalid is called an annulment, whereas divorce terminates a legally binding union. Once you receive an annulment, the court will view your marriage as having never been formally consummated because it was void or voidable. In North Carolina, a year of separation is required before filing for divorce, but an annulment can be requested at any moment.

Who may obtain an annulment?

Only those who fit into specific, limited groups are eligible for annulment:

  • Incest: You are eligible for an annulment if you and your partner are more distant than first cousins. As well as parents and kids, siblings, half-siblings, and double first cousins are included in this. 
  • Being underage: You are eligible for an annulment if you were a minor when you got married. But keep in mind that the rules have just lately changed.
  • Lack of consent: If you were coerced or duped into getting married, or if you were incapable of making choices for yourself at the time of your marriage, you may be eligible for an annulment.
  • Unreported mental illness or impotence: If you were unaware that your partner had a severe and incapacitating mental illness or could not carry out the marriage’s obligations when you got married, you might be able to obtain an annulment. A clinician must make a prognosis for either of these. Impotence does not include sterility alone.
  • The erroneous conception of pregnancy: If you and your spouse got married because you both believed that you were pregnant, you split up after 45 days, and no child was delivered in the ten months that followed the wedding, you may be able to get an annulment.
  • Bigamy: You can obtain an annulment separation from your spouse if one partner was previously married. This annulment is distinct from others. The other weddings mentioned here are voidable marriages, so the parties involved may decide to remain wed if they choose. Even if both partners want to remain married, a bigamous marriage is null, meaning it is not legitimate and never was. 

What follows an annulment?

Since the marriage is being dissolved, the court cannot award compensation or split property as it would in a divorce during an annulment. The court can award legal costs and post-separation support before reviewing the annulment case. An annulment does not delegitimize any offspring produced during the marriage.