Many people may have the incorrect view that an annulment and divorce are essentially the same. However, it is very important to understand that although the outcome may be the same under both an annulment and a divorce, in legal terms, they are two very different legal processes.
Generally, an action to annul a marriage arises when there is some defect in how the marital relationship was entered into. Some of the reasons to file an action for annulment include a person's sanity being in question, whether the marriage was forced, if the marriage was entered into under duress, fraud, if there is an inability to consummate the marriage, or if one or both of the parties was underage. Annulment essentially returns the parties to the status that existed before the marriage occurred.
As an example, under current Michigan law, an action to annul a marriage involving minors' may be initiated by a parent or guardian of the minor. If, however, the age of legal consent has been attained by the parties in the annulment action and the parties lived together as husband and wife, the marriage cannot be annulled.
A divorce action, on the other hand, specifically tackles issues in a recognized marital relationship where a once married couple now seeks separation. An action to initiate a divorce can be filed by either the husband or wife. Typically, parties cite irreconcilable differences. Divorce issues that need to be addressed in such a proceeding include property division, child custody, child support, alimony and other issues.
For anyone interested in finding out more about annulments and divorce proceedings, they may find it beneficial and helpful to contact a family law firm for more information and guidance.
Source: FindLaw, "aws.findlaw.com/michigan-law/michigan-annulment-and-prohibited-marriage-laws.html">Michigan Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws," Accessed March 9, 2015