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When you need something other than a divorce

Sometimes, couples get married, and almost immediately, the bottom falls out. Neither party can see a clear path forward to remain together as a couple. It's clear this is not a lasting match, but do they need to seek a divorce?

In some circumstances, that might not be the remedy to pursue. Dependent on the circumstances, it may be more appropriate to get the marriage annulled.

A civil annulment is different from a religious annulment. Yet the underlying principle is basically the same. While a divorce dissolves a valid marriage, an annulment makes it like the marriage never occurred. As such, no divorce is necessary.

But couples must have clear grounds for an annulment. They must have learned something about their spouse that would otherwise invalidate the marriage, such as the existence of a legal spouse of their partner. Or perhaps one or both of the spouses was under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the degree that they were unable to consent to the marriage.

But a marriage could be annulled if other facts came to light that if they had been known at the time of the marriage, it would not have occurred. Perhaps one spouse concealed a raging addiction to drugs that only became apparent after the wedding or they failed to disclose that they were in debt up to their eyeballs.

One spouse may have agreed to have children but suddenly had a change of heart, thereby denying their partner the opportunity to be a parent. There are many possible scenarios that could lead to an annulment rather than a divorce under California laws.

Unsure whether you should pursue a divorce or look into an annulment? An Orange County attorney can provide guidance and advice about the appropriate actions to take to end your union.

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