Are annulments easier and more affordable?

Aug 8, 2012 by

Question: 

I have been married to a man since June of 2002. I left him in October of 2004. I have been on my own and I have a daughter who was born in March 2003. I want to either get a divorce or possibly an annulment. I do not know which one I should ask for. I hear annulments are easier and more affordable. We have a low to middle income so I need all the help I can get with making it fall into my budget. Here is why I think my situation may qualify for annulment. I know annulments are usually for shorter marriages, but I believe I have met some of the other grounds. My husband married another woman shortly after I left him. I believe he is living with her as husband and wife even though our marriage is still valid as we have not been divorced or even legally separated. He also concealed things from me before the marriage. He had a bipolar disorder that he did not tell me about. He hid it well. He also raped 2 young girls during our marriage. The charges were filed, and DHS forced my daughter and I out of his home. I was subjected to taking her for examination to make sure that he had not raped her as well. Should I just get a family lawyer and file for divorce or is annulment something that might be possible for me?

State: 
Arkansas

Answer: 

Annulment and divorce are entirely different things – and while, yes, annulments apply to short marriages that is because those marriages were void in the first place. Annulments are not an option to divorce and cannot be compared in terms of ease or affordability.

In order to be annulled, or declared void, a marriage should not have happened in the first place due to very specific reasons as defined in the state where you live. In Arkansas the only reasons a marriage could be declared void are if one of the folowing conditions was present at the time of the marriage; fraud (misrepresentation) , duress (forced into marriage), bigamy (spouse was married PRIOR to the marriage in question), consanguinity (marriage to blood relatives).

His subsequent (illegal) marriage happened after yours and does not count as bigamy at the time of your marriage. His commission of multiple felonies during your marriage do not apply to annulment either but both factors could form the basis of an effective at-fault divorce.

The fact that he concealed his bipolar disorder (and “other things”) from you prior to your marriage could form the basis for an annulment if they are well-documented and you have witnesses and substantial proof. You could give that a try. You will probably need some assistance from an attorney. It might be quicker and easier to simply get a divorce in this instance. Talk to your attorney. – The Divorce.com Team

Wendy Jaffe and Divorce.com can only provide general information about divorce. DO NOT RELY ON MS. JAFFE’S ADVICE ALONE. Before acting on information provided by Ms. Jaffe or by Divorce.com, talk to an attorney first about your particular facts and the law of your state. By submitting your question to Divorce.com, you are not creating an attorney/client relationship with Ms. Jaffe or with any of the other attorneys listed on this site.

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