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Why Would Someone Pursue An Annulment?


There are multiple ways to potentially end a marriage and one of the least well understood is the annulment. An annulment is a procedure that legally severs a marriage by determining that it never existed. In other words, an annulment is a declaration that your marriage was not valid from the start. But why would someone pursue this pathway instead of a divorce?

Understanding Annulment vs. Divorce

While divorce ends a marriage as of the day that it is finalized, an annulment instead voids a marriage as though it never happened in the first place. Many people would choose to have their marriage annulled rather than get a divorce if they have the choice for this reason alone. Other people want to pursue annulment in order to avoid the potential stigma sometimes associated with divorce. Regardless of the reasons for desiring an annulment as opposed to a divorce, it must be acknowledged that the grounds for obtaining an annulment are very specific which means that obtaining a successful outcome at the end of this process is much more difficult. In fact, very few marriages are actually annulled in Ontario and throughout Canada.

What Are Legal Reasons for an Annulment?

There is a widespread misconception that annulment is based on the length of a marriage as opposed to the reasons why it is ending. However, as hinted at above, the ability to obtain an annulment is based on the limited grounds upon which annulments are granted in Canada. And if you are thinking this process will cut off some of the time or expense associated with divorce, you should understand that the annulment process can actually take longer and cost you more.

The grounds for an annulment may include:

  • One or both spouses were not legally old enough to agree to marry
  • Either or both spouses lacked the mental capacity to consent to entering into the marriage
  • One spouse was unaware that the other spouse was in fact already legally married at the time that their marriage took place
  • Consummation never happened
  • One party entered into the marriage under duress, threat, or force
  • One party answered the marriage solely for fraudulent purposes

Can I Pursue Annulment if My Ex Refuses to Cooperate?

In short, yes. It may take two people to agree to enter a marriage for one to begin, but it only takes one person to bring invalid circumstances to the table for the grounds for a legitimate annulment to arise. Even if your ex is refusing to cooperate whatsoever, the good news is that while one party’s refusal to do so may cause a significant amount of stress and frustration, this won’t generally stop things from moving forward. However, if you have any question about whether annulment is the right pathway or are otherwise struggling to figure out your next steps, you should obtain legal help today.

We Can Help You Figure Out the Right Way to End Your Marriage

Ending a marriage always comes with some sort of challenge. The help of a passionate family law team can help this transition occur more smoothly. The Mississauga family lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP are the team you can entrust to help you understand both your options for ending your marriage and the actions you should be undertaking to ensure you reach the most favorable outcome afterwards. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.



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