Sometimes clients come and ask us if they can just get their marriage annulled. Often this is a concept they’ve encountered through the media, either via the plots of some television shows or by following certain celebrity annulment attempts.

But just because annulments make good fiction doesn’t mean they don’t happen. Indeed, annulment can be necessary for any number of reasons, though it isn’t always possible.

What is an annulment?

When you get an annulment you are creating a legal event whereby your marriage never happened. Under Pennsylvania law, these are known as “void” marriages.

Voiding a marriage creates different legal conditions than pursuing a divorce. However, it is not really the strategic move many people think it is. If a marriage can be annulled it was usually an illegal marriage in the first place.

What are the advantages of an annulment?

Even though annulment is not really meant as a strategic move it does carry certain advantages if you happen to qualify for one.

For example, you may be able to restore certain benefits the marriage might have rendered you ineligible for. For example, if you lost spousal support from a previous marriage because of the marriage you’re annulling you might be able to retrieve those benefits.

Annulment can protect your retirement, or your social security benefits.

In addition, the courts will do their best to try to restore each spouse’s financial situation to whatever it was prior to the divorce. The division of property is different. It’s not always as advantageous as a divorce settlement could be, however: this really depends on the status of both the marital and non-marital property. Debts also happen to be divided 50/50 in a way they aren’t always divided during a divorce settlement.

How can you qualify for an annulment?

Some marriages can be made void. Some marriages must be made void. We’ve covered these conditions in a previous post. See also: Steps to Getting an Annulment in Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, if your marriage does not meet one of these conditions you would not be able to pursue an annulment. You’d have to pursue a divorce instead.

Sometimes, even if you can pursue an annulment pursuing the divorce is a better move. Don’t try to make the decision on your own. Schedule a consultation with the family lawyers at Sadek and Cooper to discuss your situation. We’ll be able to look at the bigger picture of your finances, children, marital circumstances and more to determine the best legal course for ending your marriage. Call us today.