The Difference Between An Annulment and A Divorce

We have all heard the words ‘divorce’ and ‘annulment’. But what do these words actually mean? Is one better than the other when considering the end of a marriage? There is a huge difference between the definition of divorce and the definition of annulment. If your marriage is not working out, you may want to learn a little more about what an annulment is before you file for divorce or contact a Glendale, Arizona divorce lawyer.

difference between annulment and divorce

What exactly is a divorce?

A divorce is the complete and total dissolution of a legal marriage through a court of law. A divorce in Glendale is considered a ‘no-fault’ divorce, meaning that one cannot file for divorce and receive assets based on the behavior of the opposite party. For example, in a no-fault law state like Arizona, a wife cannot accuse her husband of infidelity in divorce court and receive additional assets for his transgressions. All distribution of assets, child custody issues, and spousal maintenance (alimony payments) are decided by factors other than a married person’s poor behavior within the marriage. There are a few exceptions to no-fault laws, including domestic abuse. Other than that, no-fault laws are taken very seriously in the Glendale divorce court. No-fault laws have their own issues, for sure, but it does cut down on long, venomous court battles and marriages can be separated quickly.

If you are considering a divorce, be sure to find an experienced divorce lawyer with expertise in Glendale divorce law. Even though Glendale is a no-fault law state, it can still be difficult to get the assets you deserve without a lawyer to help.

Glendale Divorce Lawyers | My AZ Lawyers

What exactly is an annulment?

An annulment is a bit more complicated and costly than a divorce, despite misconceptions about it. An annulment is an alternative to divorce that seeks to essentially erase the marriage from ever existing, along with any responsibility for distributing assets and debts. An annulment is essentially the act of voiding a marriage instead of dissolving it.

In order to do qualify for an annulment, the parties must be able to prove that they never should have been married in the first place. This is exceptionally difficult, and a judge has limited ability to grant annulments. There are more obvious provable reasons that can allow a couple to annul their marriage, such as having an incestuous marriage, an underage marriage, or marriage to another person (also known as bigamy). Fraud, lack of mental capacity, lack of consent, and a coerced or forced marriage (known legally as duress) can be grounds for an annulment, but these factors are much more difficult to prove.

If a couple cannot prove their marriage should never have happened in the eyes of the law, their annulment will be rejected and they will have to go to divorce court.


It is a myth that a marriage that has not been consummated can be annulled for that reason alone. Legally, that is not the case. There must be some form of impediments such as underage marriage, bigamy, duress, fraud, consent issues, or incestuous marriage to qualify for an annulment of a marriage.

Which is better, a divorce or an annulment?

An annulment is usually considered much better because the marriage is essentially wiped away. This means that no assets, property, or spousal maintenance (alimony) must be distributed to the other party. Everything goes back to the way it was before the marriage existed, more or less. In a divorce, however, this is not the case. Assets, property, and debts are always distributed, sometimes unfairly, in a legal divorce. An annulment, though, is generally just as expensive as a divorce depending on how much one has in assets to lose.

In conclusion, the best way to determine if you should look into filing for divorce or getting an annulment is to evaluate your financial and marital situation with a divorce lawyer experienced in marriage annulment.

I need to file for divorce or look into getting an annulment. Who can I call?

divorce and annulment

My AZ Lawyers can help. Based in Glendale, Arizona, our law firm boasts a team of talented divorce lawyers and AZ Family Law Lawyers that have been helping people with their legal marriage problems all over the Valley for many years. Not only do we offer services for marriage and divorce law, but we are also experienced and well versed in bankruptcy, criminal defense, and DUI defense. When you need to protect your assets and move on in a new life direction, My AZ Lawyers can help. So call us today!

My AZ LawyersCandace Kallen
1731 W. Baseline Road, Suite 101
Mesa, AZ 85202
Office: (480) 263-1699

20325 N. 51st Ave., Suite #134
Glendale, AZ 85308
Office: (623) 640-4945

2 East Congress St., Suite 900
Tucson, AZ 85701
Office: (520) 306-8729