What is the Difference Between Annulment and Divorce

What is the Difference Between Annulment and Divorce Featured Image

When it comes to legally ending a marriage, two commonly used terms are annulment and divorce. You must know the difference between annulment and divorce and also the procedures if you are dealing with the complexities of terminating a marital relationship.

But do you know what happens when a marriage is annulled?  

Or, how does divorce differ from annulment?

No worries; we got you back.

Here in the following discussion, you will get to know about the aspects that depict the differences between annulment and divorce. 

What are the Differences Between the Legal Effects?

Let’s learn about the legal effects that make set both of them apart. 


The legal consequence of divorce is the termination of a valid marriage. When a divorce is granted, it means that the marriage is legally finished, and both of you will no longer be recognized as spouses. 

The divorce announcement specifies the rights and obligations of each spouse. It covers property division, child custody, visitation arrangements, and financial support. The marriage is acknowledged to have been valid in the past, but it is now formally concluded in the eyes of the law.


On the other hand, an annulment carries a different legal effect. You will receive a declaration that the marriage is null and void, treating it as if it never existed in the eyes of the law. An annulment mainly proclaims the marriage was invalid or voidable, as some circumstances or grounds match this. 

Once an annulment is granted legally, it is as if the marriage never took place, and both of you will be regarded as never married. The rights and obligations applicable in the case of a legal marriage will not be applicable in the case of an annulment.

Read also, Difference Between Fault Divorce And No-Fault Divorce.

What is the Difference between Annulment and Divorce Grounds?

Let’s learn the differences between the grounds of divorce and annulment. 


When it comes to divorce, the main ground is the damage in marriage. It can include many factors like irreconcilable differences, lack of compatibility, or the spouses living separately for a specific time. 

Having any fault or misconduct by either of the spouses is not always necessary. In several jurisdictions, no-fault divorce statutes will let you file for a divorce without putting any blame on the other.


On the contrary, annulment is generally provided based on circumstances that existed at the time of the marriage. These situations can make the marriage null and void or capable of being declared as such.

The specific grounds for annulment can be different depending on the governing jurisdiction, but there are some common grounds, such as:


If one party has misled the other – through misrepresentation of identity, intentions, or significant facts – the deceived party can request an annulment.

If you are involved in marriage solely to get a green card and intentionally hide this motive from your spouse, the deceived spouse will have valid grounds for an annulment.


If one party was already legally married to another individual at the time of the marriage, obtaining an annulment for the subsequent marriage is possible.

This situation is called bigamy, which occurs when an individual knowingly enters a second marriage while the first marriage remains legally valid.

Mental Incapacity

If one or both parties were mentally incapable of understanding the nature and consequences of the marriage, the marriage may be considered voidable.

This can include cases where you or your partner could have a severe mental illness or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage.


If the spouses share a close blood relationship, such as being siblings or close relatives, the marriage will be considered invalid, and it will be subject to annulment.

Underage Marriage

Suppose either or both parties were below the legally recognized age of consent for marriage and did not obtain proper consent from their parents or legal guardians. In that case, the marriage can be nullified through annulment.


Suppose either or both parties were below the legally recognized age of consent for marriage and did not obtain proper consent from their parents or legal guardians. In that case, the marriage can be nullified through annulment.

What are the Differences in the Legal Process?

Now, it is time to dive into the discussion explaining the differences in legal processes. 


Filing a Petition

In Canada, the divorce procedure usually occurs when one spouse submits a divorce petition or application to the relevant court. The petition sets the reasons for divorce and seeks the dismissal of the marriage.

Court Process

After the submission of the petition, the court starts the process, which may include delivering the petition to the other spouse. The served spouse can then respond to or challenge the divorce proceedings.

Judgment of Divorce

The court issues a divorce judgment if the divorce is not disputed or resolved through negotiations or mediation. This judgment formally terminates the marriage and can address various aspects – child custody, financial support, and property division.


Higher Burden of Proof

In Canada, obtaining an annulment involves a higher level of proof compared to divorce. The individual seeking an annulment must provide evidence that substantiates the particular grounds for annulment, which may include lack of consent, fraud, or mental incapacity.

Specific Grounds Required

In an annulment, the specific grounds for nullifying the marriage must be established. This involves explaining that the circumstances existed at the time of the marriage and announcing it as invalid or voidable.

A Court Hearing to Present Evidence 

In annulment cases, you must present the evidence that supports the grounds for annulment during the court hearing.

During this hearing, both parties are usually given the opportunity to provide testimony and present witnesses or other evidence supporting their position.


In Canada, annulment and divorce differ in legal consequences, grounds, procedures, and ramifications. Divorce concludes a valid marriage, whereas annulment declares the marriage null and void from the beginning, erasing its existence entirely.

It is important to look for legal counsel customized according to your jurisdiction and carefully consider circumstances while deciding between divorce and annulment in Canada.

By understanding these differences, you can make better choices and navigate the legal process with clarity and understanding.

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Please note: The information provided on this website is Not Legal Advice. The information may or may not be accurate. The information is for discussion purposes only. Reliance upon any information provided would not be grounds to advance a claim against Chinese Lawyer Vancouver for providing any advice. In order to get a formal legal opinion upon which you may rely about any specific fact scenario, you would have to first retain the services of a lawyer and request a formal legal opinion.