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Difference Between a Divorce and Annulment

Divorce is often used as a generic term for ending a marriage. However, not every marriage that comes to an end is the result of a divorce. Rather than opt for legal separation, countless people throughout Utah have chosen to end their marriage with an annulment. But what is the difference between a divorce and annulment? Because there are many myths about annulments, it is important to discuss them with a divorce lawyer. Let’s take a closer look at some of these differences.

Difference Between a Divorce and Annulment


Divorce is the process of terminating and dissolving a legally valid marriage. An annulment erases a marriage by declaring it null and void. Although the marriage is erased, the official records of the marriage are still kept on file. It is also important to understand that religious annulment are not recognized as a legal dissolution of a civil marriage.


Life doesn’t always go according to plan. There are many people who get married against their will or even without their own knowledge. Annulments are often seen as a “do-over”. It gives people the ability to turn back the clock to when they were single and wipe out the marriage. To receive an annulment in Utah, the marriage must satisfy the following conditions.

    • Misrepresentation and fraud:This happens when one party is misled into marriage. In some cases, a spouse may have lied to their partner or withheld important information. For example, some people are tricked into marriage by another person who is already married. Misrepresentation can also include a person’s inability to produce children.
    • Concealment:Unfortunately, it happens to far too many people in Utah. Many people suddenly discover their spouse has a criminal record or children from another relationship or have a sexually transmitted disease. When this information is kept from one partner, it can be grounds for annulment.

  • Misunderstanding:Many people enter marriage to have children and raise a family. However, some enter marriage under false pretenses. To receive an annulment on these grounds, the level of misunderstanding must be substantial.
  • Incest and impotency:If one party is unable to consummate the marriage, it can be ground for annulment. Any sexual act involving a sibling, grandchildren, first cousins, aunts, and uncles are grounds for annulment.
  • Lack of consent:For any marriage to be legally valid, both parties must have the mental capacity to consent to marriage. If a person enters marriage due to threats or is forced into marriage by drug or alcohol impairment, it can be grounds for an annulment.


Child custody is one of the most emotionally charged aspects of divorce. When one parent loses the rights to their children, it can be devastating. In some cases, it can also bring out the worst in people. Once a divorce settlement is finalized, both parties are required to honor to terms of conditions handed down by the court. While most people abide by the laws of Utah family courts, there are others who take the law into their own hands. The results can be disastrous. Among the most serious is child abduction.


We have all seen movies about children being kidnapped and taken for ransom by the bad guys. But what if the bad guy happens to be your former spouse and one of your child’s parents? It can make the situation even more complicated. Police generally do not get involved in family disputes. But when it comes to domestic violence and kidnapping, it is vital to get law enforcement involved as soon as possible. In today’s Digital Age, Amber alerts have become a valuable tool to recover missing and kidnapped children throughout the country. Once a child abduction has been reported and confirmed by police, Amber alerts are immediately transmitted to smartphones and digital devices with an extensive radius of where the abduction took place.


When a child is abducted, it is important to turn to as many legal resources as possible. Many parents in Utah have chosen to hire a private investigator. Although these services can be expensive, they can also be very effective. Unlike traditional law enforcement, Salt Lake City private investigators are able to devote more time to the needs of their clients.


Many child abductions can be prevented by getting a restraining order. If you have an ex-spouse who is abusive, makes threats or is constantly stalking, obtaining a restraining order can be your best defense. With help from an experienced and knowledgeable Salt Lake City divorce attorney, obtaining a restraining order becomes much easier.


Perhaps the most complicated child custody matters are those that go beyond our borders. Unfortunately, once a parent abducts a child and flees to another country, the laws become more difficult to enforce. The best case scenarios involve fleeing parents that enter a country that has agreed to an international treaty with the United States. A prominent public official may be able to negotiate the safe return of your child. However, if a child is taken to a country without a treaty, it is the best contact an attorney that specializes in international disputes.

Free Consultation with a West Jordan Divorce Lawyer in Utah

If you have a question about divorce law or if you need to start or defend against a divorce or annulment case in Utah call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506