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While most people have heard annulments, very fewer understand what exactly they entail. Although annulments end a marriage like divorces, there are actually quite a few differences between them. VeryWellMind.com offers the following information on annulments, including how to tell if it’s the right option for you.

How annulment and divorce differ

Divorce summarily ends the union between two people. Annulment renders a marriage invalid, which in essence erases the union legally. A record of the marriage still exists however, and any children that resulted from the union are considered legitimate.

Reasons one can get an annulment

It’s pretty difficult to qualify for an annulment. Some reasons include an existing marriage (also called bigamy), one or both spouses being tricked or coerced into marriage, one or both spouses being inebriated at the time the wedding took place, an incestuous relationship, sexual dysfunction, or concealment of a significant fact (such as a criminal record or child from a previous marriage). The underlying claim is that any of these occurrences should have prevented the marriage from taking place at all.

Other things to consider

It’s not true that marriages short in duration are automatically qualified for annulment. In fact, the length of the marriage has little to do with its validity (although in many cases long marriages won’t qualify). Additionally, financial matters are treated much different in this case. After a marriage is annulled neither party is able to pursue spousal support and assets are not divided in the conventional manner. Instead, the court will look to restore each person’s financial standing to what it was before the marriage took place.