Annulment vs Divorce – The Modern Day Debate

Have we become masters of deception? Social Media and the era of seeking perfection have clouded judgements and set marriages up for a loss before the first wedding anniversary. The pressure of being perfect and attaining a certain image, or upholding a certain type of marriage has become inhumane. During Love Court on the Alice 96.5 Morning Show, the question was raised, how do we determine if a failed marriage should end in a divorce or annulment? 

The listener asks, what are my options?

Here is the question directed at Jessica Anderson on the topic during Love Court on the Alice 96.5 Morning Show

“We got married a few months ago. We are both in our 50s and have each been married once before. He was not completely truthful about his financial situation among other things. Shortly after getting married I figured out that he had pretty bad previously undiagnosed ADD. He is not interested in trying to managing his ADD through through counseling or discussing meds with his doctor. We have not lived together and it is unbearable to spend much time together. He is mentally and emotionally “all over the place” and contradicts himself during short conversations. I am at my wit’s end. He is a good person with a good heart but he is not capable of being a partner/husband. He is impulsive and lack regulation in many basic aspects of his life. What are my options??”

To approach the question, we need to first look closely at the difference between annulment and divorce. The common misconception is that an annulment has a certain time limit connected to it, but Jessica, a noteworthy lawyer, states that an annulment actually has quite a few conditions to stand a chance of being successful in court – time frame not being one of the most important. 

An annulment cannot be granted simply because the parties involved believe that they made a bad decision, but undeniable proof must be delivered that deception has taken place. This deception can be likened to fraud. Misrepresentation in marriage must be proven that one party deliberately deceived another into the marriage agreement. Based on this, Jessica advises that annulment may not be her best option.

Divorce might be the answer

An uncontested divorce is the path with the least resistance. If both parties agree to get divorced, a simple procedure for documentation ensues, and the inside of a courthouse is never seen. A divorce can be handled in as quickly as 48 hours to two weeks. Jessica specifically advises this route if there are no shared assets or communal living conditions. The specific scenario being referenced above is the perfect example of where a mutual decision can be taken and the process handled peacefully and expeditiously. 

Toupee fallacy – enough reason to call off a wedding? 

The radio hosts hilariously recalled an incident where a woman from India canceled her wedding upon realizing that her soon-to-be husband makes use of a toupee. It was presumably a very serious issue for the not-so-happy bride to be, laughable to some, but contributes to the fact that deception is the basis for a relationship to go horribly wrong. 

She did not notice the deception for two years but decided not to go through with the wedding upon the realization before the ceremony. We might look at this as a small contributing factor to overall happiness, but does this not create the basis for accepting deception? Will this not lead to bigger and worse hurdles later on in a relationship? Did the bride-to-be do the right thing? We might get a whirlwind of differing opinions, but perhaps the bride-to-be prevented a divorce and more than likely nasty settlement. 

An uphill climb in divorce rates since the 1970s has set a dark cloud over marriages and has put many people off the idea of marriage permanently. A rise in cohabitation in contrast to marriage has been noted worldwide, maybe in an effort to avoid the stigma of divorce and failed marriages. 

Knowing the facts before entering into a marriage is always the best call. Armed with facts, both parties can ensure they enter into an agreement willingly and with full honesty before having to make the choice between an annulment or divorce.

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