What is the Difference Between Annulment and Divorce?

Annulment and divorce are both legal processes that end a marriage, but they differ significantly in their legal implications and outcomes. Here are some key differences between annulment and divorce:

Legal Implications:

  • Annulment:
    • Declares that the marriage was invalid from the beginning.
    • Implies that, legally, the marriage never existed.
    • Often based on specific grounds or conditions that existed at the time of the marriage.
  • Divorce:
    • Ends a legally valid marriage.
    • Recognizes that a valid marriage existed but is now being legally terminated.

Grounds and Reasons:

  • Annulment:
    • Typically granted for specific, limited grounds, such as fraud, impotence, incest, bigamy, or lack of capacity to consent.
    • Focuses on circumstances that existed at the time of the marriage.
  • Divorce:
    • To obtain a divorce in Mississippi, spouses must agree to a divorce or one spouse must prove a fault ground, which is a fault or wrongdoing of the other spouse.
    • Common fault grounds for divorce include addiction, adultery, abandonment, or cruelty.

Children and Legitimacy:

  • Annulment:
    • Children born of an annulled marriage are generally considered legitimate, except in cases of incest.
  • Divorce:
    • Children born during a valid marriage are considered legitimate regardless of the reasons for divorce.

Financial and Property Division:

  • Annulment:
    • Courts may still address issues of property and financial division, similar to divorce, depending on the circumstances.
  • Divorce:
    • Always involves the division of marital assets, debts, and property. In Mississippi, the division is based on equitable distribution principles. 


  • Annulment:
    • Can be sought relatively soon after the marriage, especially if based on specific conditions present at the time of the marriage.
  • Divorce:
    • Typically involves a legal process that takes more time, and there may be waiting periods.

Legal Status After the Process:

  • Annulment:
    • Parties are considered to have never been legally married.
  • Divorce:
    • Parties are recognized as having been legally married, but the marriage has been legally terminated.

It’s important to note that the laws and processes related to annulment and divorce can vary by state, and the specifics mentioned here may not apply to you. Individuals considering either annulment or divorce should seek legal advice to understand the implications and requirements based on their specific circumstances and the laws of their state.

Know Your Rights – Talk to a Family Law Attorney Today

If you are considering an annulment or divorce, it is important to seek the advice of a legal professional who can help you navigate the process and understand the potential consequences. An attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and can represent you in court. Consider talking to a qualified, experienced family law attorney at Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. We handle all types of family law matters, including annulments and divorces, all across the state of Mississippi. Our firm can handle your case with a balance of compassion and confidence to guide you through one of the most difficult times a person can go through. Contact us today at (601) 948-4444 to set up your free consultation and learn about your options.

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