Divorce vs. Annulment

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Difference between Divorce and Annulment

A family is one of the basic, yet most essential, institutions of society. The union of two people who love and respect each other, followed by the decision to raise children, are acts which contribute not just to the population growth of society, but the social and emotional development of individuals as well. A family is important, yet what is more important is for a family to be secure, loving and undivided—this will aid children to grow up with positivity and strength.

However, marriage and family planning always include overcoming big challenges. There are problems that couples and their children will likely encounter and some are successful in overcoming them, while others are not. There are instances when two people married to one another may—at one point or another in their lives—may realize that separation might be the best and most effective solution, as painful as it may be. This is where divorce or annulment takes place.

Divorce
Annulment

Definition

Divorce is defined to be the termination of a man and a woman’s legal union. It involves revoking both parties’ responsibilities towards one another and erasing their marital statuses. What makes annulment different is the fact that while divorce acknowledges the marriage but dissolves the matrimonial bond, annulment declares a marriage to be considered null and void, rendering it worthless and invalid.

Laws on divorce and annulment may vary from country to country. Some countries such as the Philippines prohibit divorce, because of moral or spiritual obligations expected of members of the society.

Kinds or Types

Because of the variations based on jurisdiction, there are several types of divorce. The no-fault divorce states that an allegation need not be made before divorce can be considered. Summary divorce, which is perceived by many as the simplest form, is used when divorcing partners come up with agreements on issues such as period of marriage, lack of children, and concerns on marital property. At fault divorce is used when one party has proof of the other party engaging in acts that are not permissible in marriage.

There are basically two types of annulment: the legal and the religious. A legal annulment can be utilized when the marriage is considered to be invalid because at the time two people were married, one party might have been underage, or was mentally unstable, or had committed a fraudulent act in relation to the marriage. A religious annulment on the other hand is provided by the church, and is necessary if one or both parties of the annulled marriage plans to remarry in the future.

Societal Acceptance

While not everyone may be open enough to the idea of divorce or annulment, it should be understood that these laws were created not just to make life easier for people who were once married (and who later on realize their incompatibilities in many levels), but to protect and nurture human rights as well. These days, there is less social stigma—and in some places, there is none at all—for children who come from broken families. Women can also use the law to protect themselves and their children from domestic violence, and to get out of an abusive cycle. These days, people should be able to realize the importance of such laws.

Summary

  • Annulment and divorce are similar in the sense that they both pertain to forms of splitting bonds between people.
  • They are different from one another in definition and method.
  • There are certain types of divorce and annulment; couples may choose which best fits their legal situation. 

Which one should a Catholic seek first?
  • Divorce
  • Annulment
 
 

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