2

If you're not in the Philippines or Vatican, why would anyone seek an annulment instead of a divorce? My understanding is that divorce is cheaper, so even your marriage is invalid, why not just say it's valid and divorce to save money?

I guess we can take cases:

Case 1. The invalidity of your marriage can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Case 2. You're not sure the invalidity of your marriage can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Also, since this is Legal SE, I guess the answer would be in terms of judicial economy, legislative intent, legal consequences (alimony, custody, etc), state interests, etc.

  • There are plenty of reasons to want a marriage declared never valid, and many mean that annulment is far cheaper than divorce. May also have nothing to do with money at all. – Nij May 28 '18 at 5:24
  • @Nij Yeah like what are the reasons? – BCLC May 28 '18 at 5:32
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    For starters, divorce commonly means the property is half each. Half of a fortune is still a heck of a lot of money. Would you give that up just because the divorce proceedings are cheaper? – Nij May 28 '18 at 5:37
  • @Nij Gimme a break. I did say this was 'kind of a dumb question'. :| Anyhoo thanks. ^-^ Post as answer? – BCLC May 28 '18 at 5:38
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    To some people religion important. And even if it is just for show, you cannot be married again (by the Church) if you are divorced. And a divorce might invalidate you for certain positions (King of England, Prince of Monaco). – SJuan76 May 28 '18 at 7:56
4

There are several reasons people wish to get a marriage annulled. I'll try to list them in order of frequency -- though I'm unaware of any statistics that confirm that my ordering is correct.

  1. Money. As per Nij's comment, when people are divorced, their property is subdivided 50-50. If one person can get away with an annulment, and keep the property which he earned, then it will be in his interests to do so.

  2. Religious reasons. As per SJuan76's comments, several churches, including Catholic, Mormon, and Russian Baptist, do not allow a person to marry if his previous spouse is still alive. An annulment is a way around that.

  3. Fraud marriages. This is rare, but under Trump it happens more often then you might think. People (usually women) come to the US illegally, marry someone (generally significantly older), and after the wedding day they are never again seen by their spouse. They use their marriage certificate to ensure permission to stay in the US -- but, they were never interested in marrying that person in the first place. When found, often such people are living with another illegal alien "as a boyfriend", with kids born before the fraud marriage even took place. It is in such cases, that their new spouse often tries to attain an annulment of the marriage -- to make sure that the illegal alien doesn't get rewarded for cheating them.

  4. Personal reasons. For some people, having never been married means it's easier to get a spouse who also has never been married -- and being able to check the "Single -- Never married" box on a form is always a plus in such cases. Now, don't ask me why people prefer to marry someone who's never been married, over someone who's been divorced. :)

  5. Incest. Under the US law, if you marry someone who's your close relative, then you are guilty of a felony -- even if you didn't know they're your close relative at the time of marriage. However, if you annul the marriage, then you can avoid prosecution.

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    Your third point could use some (significant and credible) sources, otherwise it appears to be a very heavily political statement. – Nij May 28 '18 at 19:53
  • 2. I thought they didn't allow a person to marry if her previous husband is still alive. – gnasher729 May 28 '18 at 19:56
  • @Nij We live in a heavily immigrant community, and I know personally some people who have been defrauded in such a way -- and I'm not even talking about clients. If you'd like, I can get in touch with them to see if they would allow me to share their names and/or contact information, for you to confirm this. However, given the privacy laws in place, it would be difficult to compile any aggregate statistics, proving that any one of the reasons above is more common than another. – Alex May 28 '18 at 20:20
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    That's what credible sources are for. Your own anecdotes, while certainly demonstrating something, do not support the point you wish to make. – Nij May 28 '18 at 22:34
  • @Nij OK, fine. So how about you find me a source that says that people divorce for financial reasons more frequently than they do for religious reasons (or the other way around). The point of the matter is, there are no such sources that would indicate the type of information you are asking for. Because reasons for annulment are protected under privacy laws, and the "significant and credible" sources are simply not allowed to state such things by law -- even when they are true. – Alex May 28 '18 at 22:55

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