Divorce vs. Annulment: Which Is Right For Me?


Is It Better To Prefer An Annulment Over a Divorce?

Unfortunately, despite the vows that most spouses make, marriage doesn’t always last forever. And when you know things aren’t right, it can be easier to get out early rather than wait for things to get worse. So if your wedding was relatively recent, you may be wondering if you can use the annulment process instead of divorce. Movies and television shows sometimes portray an inaccurate picture of annulment, making it seem available to more than it really is. However, annulment is only available in limited circumstances in Arizona, meaning you will probably need to get a divorce if you want to leave your spouse. Read on to learn more about divorces and annulments in Arizona, and call 480-833-8000 or use our online form to request your free consultation for more information.

Divorce vs. Annulment: Which Is Right For Me? Your Arizona Lawyer. AZ Family Lawyers.


What Is The Difference Between Divorce & Annulment?

A divorce is the legal dissolution of your marriage.  However, with an annulment, the court wipes away the marriage as if it never occurred. A divorce requires property division, and possibly spousal maintenance, as well as child custody and child support determination if the spouses share minor children. Because the marriage never occurred, spousal support won’t apply to annulments in Arizona.

Arizona is one of the few states that allows for division of a marital estate from an annulment. Therefore, that means that the court may need to supervise the division of any assets and debts acquired during the annulled marriage if the parties aren’t able to come to an agreement on their own. There is also a mandatory 60-day waiting period for divorces in Arizona, which doesn’t apply to annulments.  Our Arizona Family Attorneys can assist.  Call 480-833-8000 for a free consultation.

Situations Where Annulment Is Allowed

Annulment won’t be available in every case, leaving the spouses with the options of legal separation and divorce.

Some Reasons You Can Get An Annulment In Arizona Include:

  • One or both parties were inebriated during the wedding.

  • Bigamy, or when one spouse was already married to someone else.

  • One or both spouses lacked the physical or mental capacity to get married.

  • One or both spouses was a minor at the time of the wedding, and didn’t have the proper consent from their parent or legal guardian.

  • Also, if One or both spouses used a proxy for the wedding ceremony.

  • One of the spouses used fraud or duress to coerce the other spouse into the marriage.

  • The spouses haven’t yet been sexually intimate, including because one spouse refuses to participate.

  • The spouses never obtained a valid marriage license.

  • Additionally, if the spouses are blood relatives.

  • One of the spouses plans to violate a prenuptial agreement.

  • One or both spouses lacked the proper intent to enter a marriage contract.

  • Furthermore, if one of the parties hid or misrepresented their religion or prior marital status. 

Annulment & Child Paternity

There are a few ways to establish the paternity of a child in Arizona. First, the father can sign the birth certificate. Second, both parents can sign an affidavit acknowledging the child’s father. Third, the father can take a DNA test and show a match with the child. Fourth, if the parents were married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband will be presumed to be the father. Fifth, if the parents were married within 10 months of the child’s birth, the husband will be presumed to be the father. The last two methods of paternity establishment are based around the parents’ marriage. Thus, if one of the other requirements isn’t met, you may be wondering if annulling your marriage will affect paternity – after all, an annulment means your marriage never technically occurred. Annulment won’t rebut established paternity, but it can later be rebutted by a DNA test.

Child Custody & Child Support In Arizona Family Law Cases

When you divorce your spouse, there are four main parts of your divorce to complete if you have minor children together. These are property division, the possibility of spousal support, child custody, and possible child support payments. Because the first two don’t apply in an annulment, you may be wondering if you are exempt from dealing with child custody and support in an annulment as well. This isn’t the case – many parents who have never been married spend months, or even years, litigating child custody and support issues. And whether you were married, or whether the marriage was divorce or annulled, will have no effect on these matters.

In Arizona, all child custody determinations are kept with the child’s best interests in mind. Contrary to popular belief, there is no preference with giving the child more time with the mother. In fact, the courts prefer to give the parents as close to 50/50 time with the child whenever possible. But if that is infeasible, whether because of schedules, distance, or fitness as a parent, the courts may give one parent more parenting time than the other. This is referred to as physical custody, which is separate from legal custody, or legal decision-making. Child support will usually be based on some combination of the parents’ incomes and the amount of parenting time each parent has.

Your Arizona Family Law Team

Ending a marriage, whether through annulment or divorce, is a difficult decision to make. And, because Arizona is one of the states that allows property division in an annulment, mistakes and oversights during the process can result in expensive and long-lasting negative repercussions. Furthermore, filing a divorce when you could use an annulment, or an annulment when you need a divorce, can delay the conclusion of your case and make your marriage last even longer. So, if you want your marriage over quickly, and want it done right the first time, you should consider hiring a skilled family lawyer in your area.

At AZ Family Law Lawyers, our years of experience working with Arizona families lets us know what is important to our clients- quality and affordability. Our dedicated family law attorneys and paralegals will keep you informed every step of the way, reducing your stress and increasing your confidence. See for yourself with your free initial consultation. This is your opportunity to discuss your situation with an Arizona family law and get information about how you should proceed next. You will also be provided with a reasonable quote to retain our legal services, as well as payment plan options. To get started today, call or use our online form to request your free initial consultation.


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Mesa, AZ 85202

Office: (480) 448-9800
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Glendale, AZ 85308.

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Tucson, AZ 85701.

Office: (520) 441-1450

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Avondale, AZ 85392.

Office: (623) 399-4222


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