Can I Get an Alabama Annulment Instead of a Divorce?

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picture of a judge's gavel and a couple in the background. the article covers annulment as an alternative to divorce

For anyone considering hiring a Birmingham divorce lawyer, there are a handful of things you should know. Alabama family law is complex, and nothing compares to working with an experienced attorney. The more you know about the process, the better prepared you will be. Many people enter into marriages and later discover things that they would have liked to know about their spouse before tying the knot. Sadly, in most cases, regret is not enough to avoid going through the divorce process. Alabama law does, however, give couples a few limited ways to get an annulment, which can have advantages over a divorce.

What are the Grounds for Annulment?

Under Title 30 of the Alabama Revised Statutes, there are a number of basic legal requirements that, if not met, can invalidate a marriage from its inception. Generally, if you are legally married to your spouse, then you must get a divorce to terminate the marriage. If the marriage was never truly valid or was entered into fraudulently, you may be able to proceed with annulment.

If any of the following apply, then you may be entitled to seek an annulment instead of a divorce:

  • You discover that you married a close blood relative
  • You discover that at the time of marriage, one of you was already still married to someone else
  • Spouse concealed that she was pregnant by another man
  • One spouse fraudulently mislead the other to believe that he or she would cohabitate and consummate the marriage, but then chose not to do so
  • One spouse hides a sexually transmitted disease
  • One spouse is under the legal age to marry
  • A spouse only agrees to marry under threat of harm or some coercion or duress
  • A spouse is discovered to have been impotent but concealed this fact

Why Would Someone Want an Annulment?

To get a divorce, you must either meet the statutory grounds for petitioning a court to dissolve the marriage. Otherwise, there is a waiting period, during which the parties must live apart. This period of separation can be costly and present unique challenges. Likewise, in a divorce, the court has the right to divide assets and debts between the parties, as well as order alimony. In an annulment, many of these things are not considered because in the eyes of the law, the marriage was never valid from the beginning.

Is Annulment Easier?

Annulment still requires a court to decide the matter. It is definitely not automatic. Therefore, there will be costs and effort involved. Still, it is often less difficult, requires less waiting, and can be less expensive to get an annulment. Of course, very few couples will be eligible, as the grounds for an annulment are quite limited.

Get Help From Birmingham Divorce and Annulment Lawyers

The experienced family law attorneys of Five Points Law Group are available to answer your questions about getting a Birmingham marriage annulment or divorce. No matter what challenges you face, you can count on us to provide skilled and compassionate advice to help you all the way. Call us or visit us online to get help today.

Heather Fann
Heather Fann
Heather's practice seeks to preserve the dignity of clients through healthy paths for their changing families, employing both modern and traditional means of resolution including collaborative practice and methods such as use of Parenting Coordinators, as well as mediation, though she stands ready to litigate where necessary.

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