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Religious Annulment vs. Legal Annulment

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 25-Jun-2012

Due to the difficulty infrequency in obtaining annulments, Cairns Law Offices does not handle annulments.

If you think you may want to try to get an annulment, know that there are two basic types of annulments in Pennsylvania. The first one is a religious annulment and the second type is a legal annulment. These annulments are very different and a religious annulment does not mean the same thing as a legal annulment.

A religious annulment differs in the sense that it tyically gives you the right to remarry within the religious institution. Many religions, such as Roman Catholic, will not allow you to be married in their church by a priest if you have ever been divorced. This type of annulment does not give you the right to legally remarry. Also, during a religious annulment parties are not represented by an attorney but instead must follow the procedure of the religion.

In the Catholic Church, before seeking a religious annulment, you must first have a legal divorce. Your ex-spouse will have to be notified and has to have the opportunity to make a response. The average cost is around $500, depending on the church, and averages around 16 months to go through the process. Grounds for a religious annulment vary from religion to religion. We suggest you speak with your religious advisor for details.

A legal annulment dissolves the marriage. What this means is that the marriage is treated like it never happened. Legal annulments allow your status to return to single or unmarried status.

Some of the reasons for a legal annulment include:

  1. A spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  2. Either party was under the age of 16, unless parental permission was given;
  3. Close blood relationship;
  4. Mental incapacity;
  5. A spouse was manipulated into the marriage. This would include: fraud, force or duress; and
  6. A spouse was impotent and did not reveal this to the other party.

Either party can initiate an annulment. The initiating party must prove he or she has grounds, and then proves those grounds.

Unlike annulment, an uncontested divorce does not require you to have piles of paperwork proving why you should have a divorce. In an uncontested divorce both parties enter to the divorce willingly and no one is guilty party in the divorce. Also, in an uncontested divorce you have the option of creating your own settlement agreement and not having a judge impose what he or she thinks is fair.

Attorney Jim Cairns is happy to give you a free initial consultation at 888.863.9115 or get started today by clicking on the words uncontested divorce.