Differences when ending a marriage with divorce or annulment

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2022 | Divorce |

The only two ways to end a marriage are divorce or annulment in Anchorage, Alaska. Divorce is a legal dissolving of a valid marriage. After a divorce, both parties are single again. Annulment is a legal voiding of a marriage that’s not legal. The marriage records remain on file either way. There are other differences between divorce and annulment.

Fault vs. no-fault divorce

The grounds are the basis for legal action. There are different reasons for parties to seek an annulment or divorce. The main reason to end a marriage is that one or both spouses want to end the marriage. Common grounds for fault divorces include imprisonment, abandonment or adultery. Parties don’t have to prove anything during a no-fault divorce and often cite irreconcilable differences. Fault divorces tend to have larger settlements for the non-fault party.


An annulment ends marriages where at least one party believes it’s illegitimate. There are several legal grounds for an annulment but they vary from state to state. Common legal grounds for annulment include a party forcing another party into marriage and parties under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An annulment helps when parties are in other marriages or a spouse is underage. A spouse that hides a major issue before the wedding or has an incestuous relationship can warrant an annulment. Annulments are less common than divorce because there’s more to prove to a judge.

Timing of annulment vs divorce

People may think that a short marriage can end with an annulment, but a short duration isn’t legal ground. A short marriage still needs to meet some of the conditions to qualify. Many states won’t allow an annulment of longer marriages. Some states have a minimum marriage length before a spouse can file for divorce. Other states require spouses to live apart for a certain time before filing a divorce.

After a divorce, spouses may still have obligations to each other. An annulment erases a marriage, so there are no connections left. Two concerns after a divorce are finances and children. Spouses often get a certain number of years of spousal support and property after the marriage. An annulment doesn’t see the parties as real spouses anymore. Parents share custody of children after a divorce. After an annulment, the court or state may decide the children’s parentage.

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The Law Offices of Herbert M. Pearce

The Law Offices of Herbert M. Pearce
731 I Street Suite 203
Anchorage, AK 99501

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