Annulment versus Divorce

Family Law - Lyons & Associates

Certain religious communities are unaccepting of divorce to end a marriage. For people who take their vows before God, it can be unacceptable to walk away from the commitment of marriage. However, many religious organizations understand that some marriages do not work and that there should be a way to remedy such situations.

In many religious doctrines, an annulment is an acceptable way to end a marriage. With an annulment, the marriage is considered to have never taken place. The idea behind this is that the marriage was entered without the full and honest commitment of one or both parties. If the commitment was not valid, neither was the marriage. This perspective allows a couple to separate and proceed independently from one another. It even allows for remarriage if one or more of the parties intends to wed someone else.

Legal Issues

The process of annulling a marriage is granted by religious authorities with no legal impact on the union. Property and finances will need to be split. If children resulted from the marriage, custody and child support can complicate the process. To address these legal implications, the courts must grant a judgment to dissolve the legal union and end the marriage. Still, traditional divorce may not be a realistic option for some religious individuals. In these cases, the courts afford the process of a civil annulment.

Grounds for Civil Annulment in New Jersey

Annulment in New Jersey is only available in certain circumstances. For the marriage to be voided by a civil annulment, it must be proven that when the couple was joined in marriage, unknown circumstances were present that would have prevented the marriage if they were disclosed. These invalidating circumstances can include:

  • Incest: The spouses are too closely related to enter into legal marriage
  • Bigamy: One spouse was already married at the time of the marriage in question
  • Fraud: The parties are married for a fraudulent reason such as lying about the ability to have children or being addicted to a drug or alcohol. Fraud may often present itself if one of the parties to the divorce is an immigrant.
  • Physical or mental incapacity: Either party was not of sound mind and body at the time of the marriage. This may include being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time you were married.
  • Legal age threshold: One or both spouses were below the legal age to be married
  • Duress: You are forced to marry under threat of violence or harm to someone close to you.
  • Impotence: A person is unable to consummate the marriage or conceals his or her lack of ability to have children.

Woodbridge Religious Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients with Divorces and Annulments

If you are looking to end your marriage in any way, contact the Woodbridge religious divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We understand the religious and cultural traditions held in certain communities, and we will navigate the process with sensitivity and understanding. Contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.