Divorce and annulment are both acceptable ways to end a marriage in the state of Florida. While these two may both be used to terminate a marriage, people have to understand that these terms are not exactly the same. Divorce and annulment refer to two different methods of ending a marriage and therefore can not be used interchangeably.
Annulment of marriage is recognized by the state of Florida, but it is only governed by case law and not by the state law. It is not common in Florida, but when it happens, it is mostly done for religious reasons. To be granted an annulment, one has to prove that the marriage was never valid or should never have taken place. Annulment can be granted only when marriage has been proven to be void or voidable.
Marriage can be proven void when one of the spouses has been found to be married to another at the time of the marriage. It can also be considered void when it was never consummated.
For marriage to be considered voidable, an individual must prove the invalidity of the marriage on the following grounds:
* Consanguinity, or when the person has married someone of the same kinship
* Duress, or when one has been forced, threatened, or coerced into marriage
If the marriage has not been proved to be either void or voidable based on the above-mentioned grounds, then no annulment may be granted. Individuals may then proceed to filing a divorce to end the marriage.
Also known as dissolution of marriage, divorce is governed by the Florida Dissolution of Marriage Statutes. Under the laws of Florida, divorce can only be granted to couples under the following grounds:
1. Mental incompetence
2. Marriage has been broken or irretrievably broken
Mental incompetence is not commonly used by individuals as a reason to file a divorce. This is because it may take some time before the divorce can finally be granted with this ground. The laws of Florida requires that a judge should first give the allegedly mentally incompetent individual a period of three
Years before he or she can be held as truly mentally incompetent. If mental incompetence is not proven, the courts of Florida may reserve the right not to grant the divorce.
Irretrievably broken or broken marriage is the most common ground used by individuals when filing for a divorce case. An irretrievably broken marriage means that the marriage can no longer be saved by whatever means because of the disputes and differences that can no longer be settled between the couple. When marriage has been proven to be irretrievably broken or when the two parties have agreed to the termination of marriage, divorce may then be granted by the court.
Ratification of annulment may take some time and may be more expensive compared to divorce cases. In both situations, the assistance of a lawyer is recommended.