Divorce or annulment — what is the difference?

Annulments of marriages are rare, but the laws of Ontario allow it. The distinction between a divorce and an annulment is the fact that a divorce puts an end to a legal marriage while an annulment puts an end to a marriage that was not valid or legal. When a court orders an annulment, it nullifies or voids a marriage.
An example of a just cause for seeking an annulment is when a person learns that his or her spouse was never divorced from a previous spouse. Therefore, even though a wedding ceremony took place, it could not have been valid. Individuals who believe they have legal reasons to seek an annulment may have many questions.

Other grounds for annulments may include mental illness, insanity, fraud, duress, incest and more. If one of the parties was underage or if one or both was intoxicated at the time of the wedding, the court may order an annulment. However, the person seeking annulment will have to show the court proof to justify the claim. If there were children born to the couple, the court might order one party to pay child support despite the fact that the marriage was never legal, and an annulment ordered.
When an Ontario resident lives in an illegal marriage and wants information about the process of having it annulled, the logical step would be to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer. Such a professional can assess the viability of seeking an annulment and explain the steps to take. A lawyer can also answer questions about property division and other issues that typically form part of a divorce but not necessarily an annulment. Source: stepstojustice.ca, “What is an annulment and how do I get one?“, Accessed on May 30, 2017

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