Divorce vs Annulment - Macomb County Divorce Attorneys - Michigan Law Services, PLLC - Shelby Township, MI PDF Print E-mail

Clients often ask attorneys to distinguish between annulment and divorce proceedings. The importance of annulment has been somewhat diminished by enactment of the no-fault divorce law, however, it should be considered as an alternative to divorce. An annulment proceeding is instituted to obtain a judicial ruling that a valid marriage never took place because of a defect existing when the parties were married. A divorce proceeding is instituted to terminate a valid marriage for reasons that occurred after the marriage took place.

 

 

Either party may file a petition or complaint for an annulment in the family division of the circuit court for the county where at least one of the parties resides.  The petition and subsequent proceedings are the same as in a divorce proceeding. MCL 552.3.  Jurisdiction for annulment, unlike divorce, does not depend on a specific length of residence. A resident of another state or country may file a petition as long as one party to the marriage is a resident of the county where the petition is filed. Hill v Hill, 354 Mich 475, 93 NW2d 157 (1958).

There are some advantages to an annulment over a divorce including:

  • Starting a new marriage as if it were a first marriage has a psychological advantage.
  • Any stigma of being divorced is avoided.
  • Spousal support payments from a prior marriage that were terminated on remarriage may be reinstated if the second marriage is annulled.
  • Pension, Social Security, or insurance benefits due from a prior marriage but discontinued at the time of this marriage may be reinstated.
  • An annulment vitiates all interfamily ties as though they never existed.
  • There are no lengthy residency requirements.
  • There is no 60-day mandatory waiting period before a hearing.

 

Conversely, there are a few disadvantages of an annulment, including: 

  • Spousal support is hardly ever granted.
  • The woman has no dower rights in her husband’s property.
  • Annulment can be barred by estoppel, prior knowledge, condonation, or in pari delicto.
  • The proof required for annulment might be more difficult to obtain than that required in a no-fault divorce action.

For a consultation on your options, contact a family law specialist at Michigan Law Services, PLLC today.  (586) 991-1SUE (1783)

 

 

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