What is the Difference Between Divorce, Legal Separation, and Annulment?
Talk to an attorney to learn more about the different legal options for ending a marriage in TN.
If you are married and are thinking about leaving your spouse, it is important that you understand all of the legal options available to you. For most people, divorce is the best option; however, legal separation or annulment may be possibilities instead of divorce. Here is what you should know about the differences between divorce, legal separation, and annulment, as well as how Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law, can help.
Divorce, Legal Separation, or Annulment?
The following provides a brief overview of the differences between divorce, legal separation, and annulment:
- Divorce. A divorce, sometimes called an absolute divorce in TN, is a complete dissolution of a marriage. When a divorce is completed, each party is free and clear to date and marry other people; they have no legal obligation to the other party other than that which may have been determined by the divorce judgment (for example, paying child support or spousal support).
- Legal separation. Legal separation is not absolute and, therefore, while the parties may be legally separated, they are still married. As such, parties who have a legal separation cannot legally remarry. Legal separation does not require that all of the issues of a divorce (such as division of property) be resolved; however, Tennessee law provides that upon motion by either party to the court, or by agreement of the parties, the court may provide for matters such as child custody, visitation, support, and property issues.
Annulment. Finally, an annulment is much less common than either legal separation or divorce. An annulment is the way to terminate a marriage that, in the eyes of the law, was never valid. So, if your marriage was invalid based on how it was formed, an annulment may be possible. Examples include:
- One spouse was under the legal age to marry at the time of the marriage;
- One spouse was married to at least one other person at the time the marriage took place;
- One spouse only entered the marriage as a result of fraud or duress;
Get Help Ending Your Marriage in Tennessee Today
For most parties who are seeking to end their marriage, divorce makes the most sense because it is final and absolute. However, legal separation could make sense for some couples who are worried about losing benefits on the other’s record, or who want to stay married in the eyes of the law for religious or personal reasons. An annulment only makes sense—and is only permitted—when the marriage is legally invalid.
At the office of Judy Oxford, Attorney at Law, I can provide legal guidance and support as you consider your options for ending your marriage. With years of experience representing individuals going through divorce, legal separation, or annulment, I understand the processes for each. To learn more about what might be best for you, please call my law office directly today to schedule a consultation.