When a relationship is bound to end, some couples would typically get confused about what proper legal action to file to end the marriage. Oftentimes, parties would argue about having their marriage annulled rather than divorce. But what is the difference between divorce and annulment?
Annulment and divorce are two legal ways to end a marriage. In a divorce, couples are validly married. What they want to achieve is to dissolve the bond of marriage on the ground that they could no longer retrieve their married life.
To establish the irretrievability of marriage, couples only need to establish that they have been living separately for at least 12 months to be possibly granted with divorce. When granting a divorce decree, the couples can live back as single and remarry.
Filing for annulment is an application to declare the marriage as nulled and void, which means that there never was a valid marriage. Such application is quite unusual. Unlike divorce, a decree of nullity of marriage has a lot of grounds and may only be filed by one party.
Listed below are the grounds for annulment set out by the Marriage Act, which the initiating party should take into consideration.
In order for a marriage to be valid in Australia, couples should be able to satisfy the formal requirements of a valid marriage. The law provides that the ceremony must be conducted by a clergy or licensed solemnizing officer, the couples should also comply with the paperworks, and that they should have consented with the marriage by freewill in the presence of two witnesses. A marriage that is validly celebrated in another country is also valid in Australia.
The Australian divorce system does not need to find who between the couples are at fault. However, compared to annulment, divorce process may be much more complicated especially if the marriage has procreated children or if the reason for divorce is family violence.
The laws for annulment may also differ from one state to another. In all matters concerning marriage, separation, divorce, or annulment, always seek for a timely advice from family lawyers to be given a clarity and understanding before proceeding with the case.