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Divorce vs. Annulment in Virginia

Divorce Vs. Annulment In Virginia

Ending a marriage is never easy, but knowing your options can make a world of difference. Divorce and annulment, while having similar results, are two distinct legal paths. Each has its own set of rules, implications, and outcomes. The Virginia Beach divorce lawyers at Invictus Law can help you choose the right option for you.

Virginia Divorce vs. Annulment: Essential Differences

While both divorce and annulment result in the termination of a marital relationship, the circumstances under which they happen and their legal implications are significantly different.

In a divorce, you are bringing a legal and formal end to a marriage that was valid to begin with. Think of it as officially closing a chapter in your life book. Divorce acknowledges that a marital relationship existed but has reached a point where it can no longer continue. In Virginia, divorces can be “fault-based” or “no-fault,” each with its own prerequisites and procedures. The state will help the couple divide their shared assets, determine custody arrangements if children are involved, and may even award alimony to one spouse.

On the other hand, an annulment is the legal process to end a marriage that, from its inception, was never valid under Virginia law. In essence, an annulment makes it as if the marriage never happened. Unlike divorce, an annulment erases the legal record of the marriage, meaning there are no provisions for asset division or alimony in most cases.

Grounds for Divorce and Annulment in Virginia

According to the Code of Virginia, the valid grounds for a divorce are:

  • No-fault divorce – Couples can apply for a no-fault divorce if they have lived separately for at least one year. If the couple has no children, they can file for a no-fault divorce after six months of separate living.
  • Adultery – If one spouse commits adultery, the other spouse can file for divorce based on these grounds.
  • Felony conviction – If one spouse is convicted of a felony and sentenced to a year or more of prison time based on that conviction, the other spouse can file for divorce once one year has passed.
  • Cruelty – If a spouse treats the other spouse cruelly or in such a way that they have a reasonable fear of bodily injury, that is a valid cause for divorce in Virginia.
  • Abandonment – If one spouse abandons the other spouse for a year or longer, the other spouse can file for divorce based on those grounds.

Virginia’s annulment laws work a bit differently. If one or both spouses wish to annul their marriage, they must do so based on one of the following grounds:

  • Bigamy: At the time of marriage, one spouse was already married to another person.
  • Incest: The individuals involved are related more closely than first cousins.
  • Mental Incompetence: One partner lacked the mental capacity to comprehend the marriage.
  • Fraudulent Deception: Marriage occurred due to one spouse misleading the other.
  • Sexual Impotence: One spouse is unable to participate in sexual intercourse.
  • Age Restrictions: One spouse was below the legal age for marriage at the time.
  • Criminal or Prostitution History: One spouse failed to disclose prior prostitution or felony convictions.
  • Child by Another: At the time of marriage, the wife was pregnant by another man, or the husband fathered a child with another woman within ten months.
  • Coercion or Duress: One spouse entered the marriage under threat or fear of harm.
  • Sham Intentions: The marriage took place for reasons other than the typical objectives of marriage.

Our Virginia Beach Divorce and Annulment Lawyers Can Help

Ending a marriage is not an easy decision, and it’s essential to make sure you follow proper legal procedures to protect your rights. The Virginia Beach divorce and annulment lawyers at Invictus Law can help you find the right option for your situation, assist with the necessary paperwork, and safeguard your interests throughout the process. Call 757-317-5125 now or complete our contact form for a confidential consultation.

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