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What is an annulment and how do I get one?
An annulment is a court order that says your marriage was not valid from the start. This means that, according to the law, you and your partner were not actually married. An annulment is sometimes called a declaration that your marriage is "void" or a "nullity".
For example, you might get an annulment if your partner was still married to someone else when they married you. This means that they were not able to marry you. So, even though you had a marriage ceremony, an annulment says that it is like you were never married.
Even if you get an annulment, you might still have legal responsibilities to the person that you married.
For example, you might have to pay spousal support to the person you married, even if you get an annulment. This is explained further in Step 2.
A religious annulment is different from one that you get from a court. Some religions require a religious annulment before you can marry again in the religion. This is explained further in Step 3.
Divorce or annulment
If you want to remarry and your partner is still alive, you must get either a divorce or an annulment from the court.
A divorce order is a court order that ends your valid marriage.
It is rare to get an annulment to legally end a marriage. You can only get an annulment in a few situations. See Step 1. Most of the time, people don’t meet the conditions for an annulment so they need to get a divorce to legally end their marriage.
It can cost more to get an annulment than to get a divorce. This is because the court has a special process to get a divorce if you and your partner agree to it. You can fill out paperwork and don't usually have to go to court and talk to a judge if you only want a divorce and both partners agree. But there is no similar court process to get an annulment based on just paperwork.
If your situation does allow you to get an annulment, some people prefer to get it instead of a divorce. This is because it means according to the law, you and your partner were not actually married.