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The Differences Between Religious and Legal Annulments


Couples choosing to exit a union may find themselves mulling over the possibility of securing an annulment. In Florida, it is important to understand the nuances of annulments in religious environments and annulments within the legal landscape.

A Port St. Lucie family law attorney can help you understand the differences between a religious annulment and a legal annulment. They can also shed light on if pursuing a legal annulment is an option for you in the Sunshine State. Additionally, a lawyer can discuss other alternatives with you, which is essential for couples who are not eligible for an annulment.

Declaring a Marriage Null and Void

While both religious annulments and legal annulments void a marriage, the end result of each option differs. For example, a declaration by a religious authority that a marriage was never valid in the eyes of the faith is a religious annulment. While this may hold significance within the religious community, it does not have legal implications. Different religions have their own criteria for granting annulments.

Not involving religious communities, a legal annulment is a formal court procedure that nullifies a marriage. This is different from a divorce, because it doesn’t create terms to end a marriage, it means that legally the marriage didn’t exist. In order to achieve a legal annulment that is recognized by the state, specific criteria must be met.

A Florida court could grant a legal annulment in the following situations:

  • It is illegal for a person to be married to more than one person at a time in the state of Florida, so if one party was already married at the time of the marriage in question, the subsequent marriage can be declared void.
  • If one spouse deceived the other, such as misrepresenting critical information that led to the marriage, the court may grant an annulment.
  • When a person is physically unable to consummate the marriage, and this condition was unknown to the other party at the time of marriage, an annulment may be possible.
  • Lack of mental capacity. If one party lacked the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of the marriage, an annulment may be pursued.

For couples who do not meet the criteria for a legal annulment, divorce or separation may be alternative paths. A divorce legally terminates the marriage, addressing issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody. Separation allows couples to live separately but remain married, providing an opportunity for reconciliation.

 Discuss Your Choices with a Florida Lawyer

Understanding your options and end goals is part of deciding whether to pursue an annulment or another option in the state of Florida. Talk about where you are today and what you want your future to look like with a Port St. Lucie family law attorney.

Could you be granted an annulment? The legal team at Baginski, Brandt & Brandt can help you navigate the intricacies of leaving a union. Annulments are rare, divorces and separations are more common. Have a conversation about your options with a legal professional today. Contact us to schedule your fee-free appointment.

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Port St. Lucie 8483 S. U.S. Highway One
Port St. Lucie, Florida 34952
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Stuart, FL 34994
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