Divorce and annulment are two ways to treat the end of a marriage in Mississippi. Their legal status is not the same, so it is important to understand the difference between them and why one or the other would apply to any given situation.
What is an annulment?
An annulment is a legal declaration that a marriage never existed. It takes special circumstances, like one spouse having a different marriage at the same time, the spouses finding out that they were cousins or siblings without knowing it or one spouse being underage. These are conditions under which the marriage would not have been legal in the first place, so an annulment formalizes this.
How does divorce differ?
A divorce is a legal process that ends a legal marriage. It’s much more common as well as easier in terms of court proceedings. The major difference in terms of outcome is property division. In a divorce, the court divides up marital property that the couple accumulated evenly. In an annulment, the court arranges the property to match as closely as possible what the financial status of each person was just before the wedding. In both cases, the couple is no longer married. In a divorce, the judge is just there to oversee the property and custodial arrangements, but in an annulment, the judge can deny the annulment if the conditions have not been met.
For most people, divorce is the best approach to the breakdown of a marriage. Annulment is only for special cases, and it requires proof that those conditions have been met in order to go forward and proceed with terminating the marriage.