Boss Lady

Divorce vs annulment: what you need to know


You have got married but now want to end your marital partnership. The normal way would be divorce. Now you may have heard that a marriage can also be annulled or cancelled, but you need to know what reasons there are and under what conditions the termination of marriage can be divorce vs annulment.

Divorce vs annulment: ways to end a marriage

A marriage is legally ended if it is divorced by judicial order, the spouse dies or the marriage is annulled by court decision on grounds for annulment. For entering into divorce proceedings, you should ensure you obtain all the necessary divorce information.

The annulment of a marriage can only be considered if at the time of the marriage, the conditions under which a marriage can be concluded at all or a marriage ban existed were missing.


They were a minor at the time of marriage or one of the spouses was not eligible at the time of marriage.

According to the law, the annulment of marriage is therefore only possible in exceptional cases. If none of these exceptional cases are present, marriage can only be divorced. The registrar must therefore check whether the marriage is permissible before the marriage.

He checks whether the marriage requirements (e.g. the age of majority of the spouses) and there are no marriage bans (marriage among siblings). The registrar must refuse to marry if it is obvious that there is a reason for the marriage to cancel.

However, if there are no discernible doubts for the registrar, he will make the marriage. If it turns out after the marriage that there is a reason for annulment, the annulment of the marriage can subsequently be considered. In the years 1991-2004, less than 0.1% of marriages were dissolved by the annulment of marriage.

Divorce vs annulment: What reasons justify annulment?

Revocation of a marriage of convenience

If you conclude the marriage for the purpose of obtaining a right of residence for the spouse without the intention of establishing a marital partnership, your marriage of convenience can be withdrawn. However, the marriage is initially effective, but can be cancelled retrospectively.

Already married

Marry even though you are already married or marry a partner who is already married, you are a bigamist. Your marriage can then be lifted. Both spouses, but also those with whom you or your partner are already married or live in a registered civil partnership, are eligible to apply. There is no application deadline. If your spouse was mistakenly declared dead from a previous marriage without you knowing this, the marriage will dissolve your first marriage by law. The dissolution continues if the death declaration is subsequently revoked.

Divorce vs annulment in case of minority

In order to prevent child marriages, the legislature has increased the minimum age for marriage from 16 years to 18 years in some states. Existing marriages can be annulled by judicial decision, similarly to the granting of a divorce judicially.

Termination of a marriage between relatives

Marriage between relatives in a straight line (parent – child – grandchild) as well as between siblings or half siblings is prohibited. The reason is incest, which is also punishable in the Criminal Code with the criminal offence “sleep between relatives”. After all, the marriage concluded among relatives is effective, but is subject to annulment. There is no application deadline. If the uncle marries the niece, the aunt the nephew or the cousin marries the cousin, there is no marriage ban.

If you are an adoptive child, a legal relationship develops with your new family. In this case, too, there is a marriage ban with your relatives in many jurisdictions. The marriage ban does not apply if you dissolve the adoption relationship or are exempted from the marriage ban at the family court.

Permanent mental disorder

If a partner is in a “permanent state of pathological disorder of mental activity” at the time of marriage, he is incapacitated. This means that the spouse suffered from a mental disability or personality disorders at the time of marriage. A marriage still concluded is effective, but can be revoked. The spouse, the legal representative of the incapacitated partner (supervisor) or the administrative authority are entitled to apply.

Temporary mental disorder

If a partner has completed the marriage in a state of temporary disturbance of their mental activity, the marriage can be revoked.

Repeal in case of error

If you thought the wedding ceremony was a engagement or a mere theatrical performance and you didn’t know that your yes word founded the marriage, you can have the marriage cancelled. Whether you will actually succeed in this proof can be doubted.

However, if you were wrong about the identity of your partner (you marry the identical twin brother of your supposed partner) or if you were mistaken about the essential personal qualities of your partner (spouse is financially completely destitute contrary to his top-class appearance), your error remains irrelevant. All that remains for them is divorce.

Fraudulent deception

If you were prompted to marry by fraudulent deception and if you had not married if you had known the circumstances, your marriage can be cancelled within a period of one year after becoming aware of deception. The fraudulent deception can also consist in the fact that the partner dutifully conceals important facts about himself. It is possible that your partner is already married, has a criminal record or homosexual for breaches of maintenance.

Cancellation in case of threat

If a spouse or a third party (e.g. parent) caused marriage by threat, your marriage is subject to annulment. Typical cases are forced marriages. You can cancel your marriage within a period of three years as soon as you have released yourself from your predicament.

Forced marriage is also punishable in the Criminal Code. In justified cases, in addition to the annulment of marriage, it is also advisable to file a criminal complaint.

What are the consequences of the annulment of a marriage?

If your marriage is terminated, your marriage only ends with the dissolution. Since you have made a marriage after all, there are similar consequences to a divorce. Thus, the partner may be obliged to maintain postmarital spouses if you were initiated to marry by deception or threat or if you have to look after children born in community and in marriage.

Profit compensation and pension compensation are also eligible if your participation in the asset growth and pension entitlements of your spouse appears fair.

How do I request the annulment of my marriage?

There are different procedures to apply for divorce vs annulment. If you want to have your marriage annulled, you must apply to the court for the annulment. You have to prove the reason for the annulment. In some cases, extensive evidence is required. Above all, you must submit the request for annulment to the court within the statutory deadlines.

Divorce vs annulment as a viable alternative?

Whether it is a real alternative to divorce vs annulment for you, can only be assessed on a case-by-case basis. An important difference is that when annulment of the marriage, you must explain and prove the reason for the conviction of the court.

For example, in the matter of proof for divorce vs annulment, if you fail to prove an alleged fraudulent deception by your spouse, you risk that the annulment application will be rejected by the court and that you will incur unnecessarily high costs. Divorce, on the other hand, does not depend on such reasons. You will be divorced if your marriage has broken and failed and you have no interest in restoring your marital partnership. In divorce proceedings, you largely spare yourself the exchange of arguments that you have to deal with in the annulment procedure.


If you consider the grounds for divorce vs annulment specified in the law, you will find that the annulment of a marriage is only possible in justified exceptional cases. Therefore in weighing up the options of divorce vs annulment, the latter is only workable to a very limited extent. As a rule, you will be referred to the conventional divorce procedure — and may need more information if this is a divorce with business partners — but then also have the advantage that you do not have to face the dispute about any grounds for revocation.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

Recommended for you

error: Content is protected !!