A lawsuit filed in court seeking to dissolve a marriage on the ground that the marriage, while valid when entered into, is voidable by court order because a party establishes the existence of specific facts to prove grounds provided by New York’s Domestic Relations Law. This is different from a “void marriage,” which is a marriage that may be declared void because it was never valid.

What is the effect of an annulment?

When a marriage is annulled, the record of the marriage and annulment remain, but the parties may consider themselves to have not been married.

  • Minor Children: Both parties to the annulled marriage remain responsible for any minor children they conceived during the marriage. A court has the authority to make provisions for custody, visitation and support of minor children.
  • Division of Property: A judge may make all necessary orders, just as in a divorce, to distribute property fairly between the parties and may order spousal maintenance, just as if the action were for a divorce.

Is there a difference between annulment and divorce?

There is little practical difference between an annulment and a divorce:

  • An order of annulment means that one party has established that the marriage is not legally valid. A divorce, on the other hand, ends a legally valid marriage;
  • The grounds for annulments are more difficult to establish than grounds for divorce. A New York court can grant a divorce on the written or sworn testimony of one party alone without a trial. While an annulment by statue requires a trial or inquest before a judge.

Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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