The Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce in Tennessee.
Annulment versus Divorce
Although an annulment and a divorce have certain things in common (they bring an end to your relationship, they require a division of property, a parenting plan, child support if applicable) they are two entirely separate concepts. Many people view annulment as simply a faster, easier way to get a divorce. As explained here, that is not.
Tennessee allows annulment in very limited circumstances. This speaks to the fundamental difference between a divorce and an annulment. A divorce is the end of a legal marriage. An annulment means that there never really was a marriage at all, and the whole thing is treated as void. In other words, in an annulment there was a substantial defect at the time of the marriage that was so strongly against marriage policy that it rendered the entire marriage void and invalid. A void marriage is no marriage.
Grounds for Getting an Annulment
Scenario: A couple finds themselves involved in a whirlwind romance and are convinced they have found their soul mates. After two weeks of dating, they elope to Vegas and get married at a drive thru chapel. They come back home and realize they really don't like each other that much after all. Can they just get their marriage annulled instead of going through the divorce process? Probably not.
The specific grounds for annulment have been developed, for the most part, through case law in the Tennessee courts. They are as follows:
o Incurable impotence that existed at the time of the marriage
o Failure to consummate the marriage
o Incestuous marriage
o Secret pregnancy at time of marriage
o Minor marries without consent from a parent or guardian
o Mental incapacity or insanity
o Marriage by fraud
o Marriage under duress, force, or threat of physical harm
o Limited purpose marriage
Absent any of the above, divorce is your only recourse. Annulments and divorces are best handled by a skilled family law attorney. Located in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee, McFarland Law Office would be honored to speak with you regarding the specific circumstances of your relationship and whether an annulment or divorce would suit you. Your consultation is free and we will sit down with you and explain how we can best serve you. If you are in need of a knowledgeable, thorough divorce attorney, give us a call at (931) 516-9009.
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