Although both an annulment and divorce terminate a marriage; differences exist in the process, aftereffects, and means for obtaining. Unlike a divorce, which recognizes that a marriage at one point existed, an annulment is retroactive and dissolves the wedding completely. An annulment finds a violation that eliminates the couple from entering into an eternal bond, it is a tool that cancels out the marital contract from happening. Divorce is granted on the couples discretion, while an annulment must violate a processes legal aid.
The process to annul a marriage is often tedious and impersonal. Unlike a divorce there is little interaction between spouses when obtaining a decree of nullity. The procedure starts with a Legal assistance
The process to obtain a decree of nullity contains legislative red tape, numerous forms, and most importantly, patience. The starting point for a marriage annulment is a petition. Similar to the form used to file for divorce, the petition will ask basic questions such as, residence and occupation in addition to personal questions such as, problems during marriage or reasons for getting married. The petition contains approximately 10 pages and acts as the summons for the respondent, all the information for the trial, and even testimony itself. All information including joint property, debts, assets, and violations of the marital contract are present in this form.
Often times overlooked, an annulment lawyer can be a vital resource given the circumstances and assets involved in the case. Since an annulment awards property rights and child custody like a divorce an annulment lawyer’s importance can be paramount. Convincing a judge that a party is insane, impotent, or guilty of fraud is difficult for those inexperienced at trial law.
An annulment lawyer will not only aid by producing an argument against the respondent, but also by clarifying the ambiguity of varying state laws and legislation. If an annulment is established within a few weeks of marriage and there is a direct violation against the marital contract, then an annulment lawyer’s value dissipates. In order to determine the necessity of legal aid one must adopt a useful cost-benefit analysis.
Like most legal code, interpretations and rulings of annulment laws vary based on state and jurisdiction. The general conflict of law question pertains to individuals marrying in one state, and filing for an annulment in another. The filing of the annulment petition must take place in your place of residence. However, the annulment laws are carried out based on the celebration state’s (state where wedding took place) interpretations.
Ambiguity lies within contrasting laws for states. Marriage between first cousins or incest is grounds for an annulment in some states but not others. The underlying question in regards to a state upholding an annulment request is based on its public policy. Before entering such a process one must grasp the specific annulment laws of both his place of residence and the celebration state.
Effect on Children
A common misconception concerning marriage annulments is the question pertaining to children rights and legitimacy. Due to their religious background, children are viewed as legitimate after a decree of nullity is obtained, no matter the circumstances. The Catholic church views any child born, no matter the situation, as sacred. Consummation via incest, infidelity, force, or any other action that would deem the marriage void, is still considered legitimate. Similar to a divorce trial, a child’s rights and custody will be distributed based on the parent’s competence and situation. Due to the typical length associated with annulled marriages and opportunity costs a court system incurs by administering such a case. The presence of children during an annulment trial is rare.
Availability of an annulment
Unlike a divorce an annulment can only be granted if a violation of church law is present at the wedding ceremony. Decrees of nullity revolve around the exchange of wedding vows and the procedural requirements of the wedding itself. The vows or “contract” of the marriage must be upheld so the sanctity of the bond can be fulfilled. These stipulations include fidelity, eternity, and consummation. Annulments are not granted based on the feelings or desires of those involved in the relationship, but instead, the contract itself and the ceremony that finalized such an agreement.
What to Expect in Court
The Catholic church only considers a marriage void if a direct violation of church law occurred during the exchange of wedding vows. Unlike divorce, a couple cannot receive a religious annulment based on personal desire, spousal abuse, or unhappiness. The relationship itself is not in question, but instead, the disposition of those involved during the time of the wedding, and the ceremony itself. Once an annulment is received the religious rights will be unchanged in regards to remarrying in the church and attending mass. If a divorce is not followed by an annulment, the Church will recognize an active marriage and will not allow a Church wedding to take place. In regards to rights, a divorcee will still be allowed to attend mass, raise a family Catholic, and receive communion.
Annulment and Catholicism
Due to the implicit connection between the Catholic church and their commitment to background theocratic dogma, the referencing of Biblical passages and allusions are not uncommon upon attempting to negotiate legal processes in the spectrum of religious faith. People who have opted to make their religion a cornerstone of their respective existences have made a commitment to allow both the country in which they reside, as well as the religious ruling doctrine under which they identify to play a symbiotic role in authorizing and substantiating the events in which they participate.
The First Amendment the United States includes the separation of church and state in order to prevent the United States from becoming a theocracy. Although the majority of the authors of the Constitution identified themselves as Deists, meaning that they believed in the presence of a higher power, they were critical of the absence of individual liberties and freedoms that ran rampant underneath past theocratic rule.