Don't judge me. Kind of a dumb question and not even sure if on topic, but if you're not in the Philippines or Vatican, why would anyone go for an annulment instead of a divorce? My understanding is that divorce is cheaper, so even your marriage is invalid, why not just say it's valid and divorce to save money?

I guess we can take cases:

Case 1. The invalidity of your marriage can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Case 2. You're not sure the invalidity of your marriage can be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Also, since this is Politics SE, I guess the answer would be in terms of judicial economy, legislative intent, legal consequences (alimony, custody, etc), state interests, etc.

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    My understanding is that divorce is cheaper -> can you document this ? Also, are you only interested incases where both spouses agree to terminate/cancel their wedding ?
    – Evargalo
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 12:18
  • @Evargalo Q1. There are some states where divorce is cheaper than annulment. I'm asking for the purpose of the existence of annulments in those states. For me, if I got married and then it turns out it's invalid and I want to get an annulment why would I do so instead of divorce if annulment costs more? So yeah Vincent answered. There's alimony which was one of the first things that came to mind.
    – BCLC
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 12:53

1 Answer 1


Not an expert, but I see several reasons:

1: The person is of a religion that does not allow divorce. (Catholic) If the marriage was invalid all along, and the court agrees, some may feel more justified in bending the rules.

2: Property Distribution. According to this site, there is no alimony under annulment. A man might come out ahead on money. The same site suggests all the assets are distributed closer to the status quo pre-marriage with an annulment. A divorce apparently may divide the assets closer to half and half at the separation time, even if one partner had more assets before getting married.

3: There is some reason the marriage was in fact invalid. Another site describes actual legal reasons for annulment: -The couple were related. -One partner was already married to someone else. -The marriage was fraudulent, forced, agreed to while incapable of consent, etc.
Annulment is a public statement that the marriage never was legitimate.

  • Thanks Vincent. So, even though annulment is a more expensive procedure, it may be worth pursuing because it's less expensive in the long run e.g. no alimony?
    – BCLC
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 5:11
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    Yes, if you were pretty sure you would have to pay alimony with a divorce, you likely could save money by getting an annulment instead. Of course, your spouse would then be motivated to not get an annulment.
    – Vincent
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 5:14
  • Ayt thanks. I'll leave question open in case of other answers.
    – BCLC
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 5:33
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    @BCLC For the Catholic church civilian divorces does not really count and any relationship following the divorce is adultery (since they are still married). If you want to marry again, you can't do it in a Catholic church. An annulment saves you from these situations - the latter motive is the main reason for seeking an annulment here in Spain.
    – Rekesoft
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 9:40
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    Example of #3: A woman gets married, then discovers her spouse has another wife in a different country. She wants to be separated and let everyone know the marriage was under false pretenses.
    – Vincent
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 22:08

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