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What is an annulment and why is it different to divorce?

Like a divorce, an annulment is a way of legally ending your marriage. Read Graysons Chesterfield & Sheffield divorce solicitors guide to annulment here.

Last updated on August 16th, 2021 at 05:56 pm

Ending a marriage is never easy. Indeed, for both parties involved, it is often a stressful and emotional time. While divorce is the most common way to end a marriage, annulment is another option open to some couples in the UK. Just like a divorce, an annulment legally ends a marriage. If you are considering ending a marriage and want to understand your options better, then carry on reading. Here, Graysons’  team of divorce solicitors in Sheffield & Chesterfield explain what an annulment is and how  it is different to divorce.

What is an annulment in the UK?

An annulment in the UK is a legal way of ending of your marriage. There are two annulment options:  the first stating that the marriage was “void”, therefore declaring that it never legally happened;  or the second that it was “voidable” which means that the marriage did exist, but it falls under one of the legal reasons to be granted an annulment. To get an annulment, you must satisfy the courts that the marriage was either void or that the marriage falls into one of the criteria to make it voidable. Some people seek an annulment instead of a divorce for religious reasons. An experienced divorce lawyer, such as Graysons’  team of solicitors in Sheffield & Chesterfield  will be able to advise you whether an annulment or divorce is right for you.

What is a divorce in the UK?

Divorce in the UK is the most common  way to end a marriage legally.  To be granted a divorce in England and Wales, you must have been married for more than a year and prove that the UK is your permanent home. To get a divorce, you must prove to the courts that your marriage has irreparably broken down. In the UK, there are five reasons, known as “grounds for divorce.” These are unreasonable behaviour, desertion, adultery, separation for more than two years and separation for more than five years. Divorcing couples who do not wish to assign blame will often choose a “no-fault divorce,” whereby both couples must prove that they agree to the divorce and have been separated for at least two years.

Is there a time limit on getting an annulment?

There is no time limit on getting an annulment, and applications for nullity may be submitted at any time after the marriage. However, both parties must prove that they have lived in England and Wales for at least a year. On the other hand, if you wish to apply for a divorce, you must have been married for at least a year. An experienced divorce lawyer, such as Graysons’   team of Sheffield & Chesterfield  Solicitors , will be able to advise the best way to legally end your marriage that  protects your legal rights.

How long does it take to get an annulment?

It is hard to accurately state how long an annulment will take as no two cases are ever the same. However, on average, you can expect an annulment to typically take around six to eight months. If your ex-partner contests the annulment it may take significantly longer. Working with an experienced divorce solicitor, such as Graysons’   team of divorce lawyers in Sheffield & Chesterfield  can help ensure the process runs as quickly as possible.

What qualifies as an annulment in UK law?

In order to be granted an annulment in the UK, your divorce lawyer must prove to the courts that your marriage is either void or that it meets one of the specific reasons to make it voidable.

Examples of a void marriage include:

  • You or your ex-partner were married or in a civil partnership when the marriage took place
  • You or your ex-partner were under the age of 16 at the time of the marriage ceremony
  • You or your ex-partner are closely related
  • The marriage ceremony was held in a place not legally registered to perform the ceremony

Examples of a voidable marriage include:

  • You or your ex-partner were forced into the marriage under duress
  • You or your ex-partner were in the process of gender transitioning
  • You or your ex-partner were pregnant by another man at the date of the marriage
  • Your or your ex-partner had a sexually transmitted disease
  • The marriage was not consummated
  • You or your ex-partner did not have the mental capacity to agree to the marriage

If your marriage is void, then there is no need to apply for a formal decree to annul it as it technically never existed. If your marriage is voidable, then you must apply to the courts for an annulment. Either way, you should work with an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure your legal rights are protected.

What are the benefits of an annulment versus a divorce?

One of the main benefits of an annulment versus a divorce is that you can get an annulment any time after the wedding. If you apply for a divorce, you can only do so after you have been married for a year. If you qualify for an annulment, there is also no division of property or other assets as they are typically assigned back to their original owner, as they were before the marriage. Any debt accrued during the marriage is often split evenly.

If you are considering ending your marriage, it is important that you discuss your options with an experienced divorce lawyer who will be able to explain the processes involved and whether divorce or annulment is right for you.

Will I need to attend court to get an annulment?

It is unlikely that you will need to attend court to get an annulment, especially if your ex-partner agrees to the annulment. However, if your ex-partner does not agree to the annulment, then you may have to attend court. In many cases, your divorce lawyer will work to try and avoid court through a process of mediation and negotiation. If the matter does end up in court, then your divorce solicitor will be able to attend on your behalf.

How do I choose a divorce lawyer to help me end my marriage?

It is important you choose the right divorce lawyer to help you end your marriage, whether it be through the more traditional divorce route, or by an annulment. The first thing you should do is check your divorce solicitor’s credentials, to ensure they have the right qualifications and experience required. You should also choose a divorce solicitor who you feel comfortable with. A divorce solicitor will support you throughout the entire annulment or  divorce process, listening to you, discussing your options, giving you trusted advice and support, while ensuring your legal rights are protected. Graysons’  team of divorce solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield have decades of expertise and can help take  the stress out of ending your marriage. Contact us today.

Do I need to use a divorce lawyer near me to get an annulment?

No, you do you not need to use a local divorce lawyer to get an annulment. Graysons’  team of Sheffield & Chesterfield divorce lawyers have helped people across the UK to get an annulment. The entire process can be managed digitally, including video calls with your divorce solicitor, as well as email or by post.  When ending your marriage, you need an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you ensure a seamless process that best protects your interests.

How can Graysons’ ’  Sheffield & Chesterfield divorce solicitors help me get an annulment?

Graysons’   team of Sheffield & Chesterfield  divorce solicitors are experts in their field and can help end your marriage through either an annulment or a divorce

You have landed on this page as Watson Esam has merged with Graysons

You can read more about the merger here. Graysons will be pleased to help with your enquiry. Please visit our web pages or contact us directly on 0114 358 9009


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