Divorce and annulment both involve legally ending a marriage. However, there are several differences between divorce and annulment. For example, there are several more circumstances under which a couple may seek a divorce than there are grounds justifying annulment. Additionally, unlike divorce, certain awards, such as alimony, will not be granted post-annulment. With that being said, if you are considering divorce or if you are considering seeking the annulment of your marriage, it is important you understand the major difference between these two legal concepts.
- Parties may seek a divorce based on one or more of Georgia’s thirteen grounds for divorce.
- Divorce dissolves or terminates the marital relationship legally.
- Generally, Georgia Superior Courts to not grant divorce by default.
- Upon divorce, a court may award one party alimony or spousal support.
- Marital property is divided between the parties in an equitable manner upon divorce.
- Unlike divorce, there are only 6 grounds for annulment in Georgia. See O.C.G.A. §§ 19-3-3 to 19-3-5.
- Unlike divorce, annulment does not just terminate the marital relationship, but annulment voids a marriage as if it never existed. O.C.G.A. § 19-4-1. Once a marriage is annulled, the parties are returned back to their original status as unmarried or never married individuals.
- Unlike divorce, a court may enter an order granting an annulment without the necessity of conducting a hearing if the respondent fails to answer the petition or contest the annulment within 30 days of service. O.C.G.A. § 19-4-4 and O.C.G.A. § 19-4-5.
- Post annulment, since annulments void a marriage as if it never existed, certain awards, such as alimony, are not available post annulment. See York v. York, 2020 Ga. 50 (1947).
- Although a court may partition property or make legal determination regarding a couple’s respective property rights in an annulment, a court will not divide marital property, because as mentioned above, an annulment voids the marriage as if it never existed. McKinney v. McKinney, 242 Ga. 607 (1978).