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Can I change my marital status to single after the annulment?

July 17, 2017

Unless you’ve been through it or you’re an attorney who deals with clients getting divorced or annulled every day, you might not know the difference between an annulment and a divorce. They’re both similar in that they end a marriage, but that’s as similar as it gets between these two very different situations. Divorced ends your marriage, but you were still married. When you divorce your spouse, any future spouse will be your second spouse. If you annual your spouse, your marriage never happened in the eyes of the court, you’re officially single again, and your next spouse is your first.

It’s complex, and it’s not always easy to understand. That’s why so many people want to know if they can change their marital status to single following the completion of an annulment. You absolutely may change your marital status to single following an annulment. In the eyes of the law, you are a single man or woman who’s never been married before. If you’re not sure how that works, here’s what you must know about being annulled.

How does annulment work?

Annulment is a complex subject. Many people wonder why people annul their marriages rather than just divorce. With the exception of being officially single rather than divorced on all your legal documents, the entire process is very similar. Assets and debts are divided, child custody is handled, and people have to make decisions about who gets what and when.

So what’s the point of an annulment? It’s to end a marriage so a person can become single again. A very common misconception about annulments is they happen right away. Perhaps you remember when pop superstar Britney Spears married her childhood friend one night in Las Vegas and filed an annulment a few hours later? It’s not always this quick, but it is in most cases. An annulment can happen at any point in a marriage, whether you’ve been married for a week or a decade.

Why do people get an annulment?

The major difference between an annulment and a divorce falls under grounds. You cannot annul your spouse because you don’t love them anymore. You have to divorce someone you no longer love or wish you never married. You must have a legitimate reason to erase your marriage from ever being legal.

– Fraud or Misrepresentation: If you find out your spouse lied to you, committed an act of fraud, or misrepresented him or herself before your wedding, you can file for an annulment. One of the most common examples of fraud or misrepresentation is a man or woman who marries someone who wants kids without telling their spouse they don’t have the ability to have kids.
– Unsound Mind: If one or both of you were drunk, under the influence of drugs, or impaired in any other way at the time you wed, you can call off the marriage on the basis you didn’t have a sound mind to make that decision. This happens a lot in places like Las Vegas.
– Force: If one or more parties was forced to get married, you can annul the marriage.
– Incest: If it’s later determined you are somehow related to your spouse, annulment is the way to end the marriage.
– Bigamy and/or One Party is Underage: If you find out your spouse is married to someone else at the time you wed or wasn’t at least 18 and didn’t get parental approval, you can annul.
– Consummation Never Occurred: If the marriage is never consummated, it’s ground for annulment if you were unaware your spouse was unable to perform this kind of act.

If any of these situations applies to you, you’re able to file for an annulment no matter how long you were married. This allows you to clean your slate and avoid being labeled as divorced on every piece of paper you sign, on your background check, and anywhere else in your life. You get a second chance to get married for the first time, and that’s what many people want.

If you fall into one of these categories but don’t care to annul your marriage, you can seek a divorce. However, your attorney and/or the court will likely require you apply for an annulment rather than a divorce in a situation such as this one. If your marriage is annulled, you are permitted to change your marital status to single on every legal document

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