When couples choose to end a union through divorce, the dutiful party covers any legal or shared financial obligations after the dissolution. The law created these obligations because, essentially, divorce is the breaking up of a legal family.
Technically, marriage annulment also breaks up a family. There is, however, one key difference: In annulment, the marriage should not have taken place to begin with. Annulment is reserved for cases where the marriage was the result of fraud, deception, illegal behavior, or anything else that would invalidate the marriage. Divorce ends and records a marriage; annulment treats the marriage as if it never happened.
Because annulment essentially erases a marriage, it does not often include the same financial obligations that accompany a divorce.If the marriage never legally existed, then there is no reason to award spousal support based. Essentially, the law assumes there was no valid marriage to dissolve.
The Financial Consequences of Marriage Annulment Without Spousal Support
Generally, the law views marriage as a legal, financial contract, and it intertwines the couple’s assets. This property can include retirement plans, debts, taxes, real property, and more. When a marriage ends in divorce, these assets are divided accordingly.
A marriage could leave spouses with little to share. Courts can order that each spouse leaves the marriage with whatever they had before the wedding.
Without spousal support, it can be challenging for one partner to support themselves financially, especially if they were not the primary breadwinner.
Even if your marriage is eligible for annulment, seek legal counsel before going through with the process. They can overlook your situation and guide your next steps. Filing for divorce may be the better option.
Coping with a Lack of Support After an Annulment
Here are some helpful strategies that can help you financially after an annulment.
- If possible, take on additional work or seek other ways to increase your income.
- Consider seeking help from a financial advisor to help you manage your finances.
- Make a list of all your debts, including any joint debts you must split, and prioritize them based on their urgency.
- Assess your financial situation and make a budget plan. Doing so can help you determine your expenses and where you can reduce spending.
Most importantly, remain positive and focused during this difficult time and make the necessary adjustments to help you cope and start anew.
Alternatives to Spousal Support after a Marriage Annulment
Courts can provide compensation in a marriage annulment. Often, annulment is the result of one spouse’s bad-faith actions. In these cases, the court can order that the offending spouse pay the victimized spouse restitution or damages.
If that doesn’t happen, the victimized spouse could file a civil lawsuit against the offending spouse.
If the couple established a postnuptial or separation agreement, it may already address financial support issues.
Get a lawyer’s help if you need a marriage annulment, and you are worried about the financial ramifications.
Seeking Legal Advice when You Need an Annulment
When pursuing an annulment, seeking legal advice from a qualified attorney is important. Their knowledge can help you understand the criteria for obtaining an annulment and the process involved.
Moreover, they may be able to provide alternatives. Just because you could get an annulment, doing so may not be your best option. An attorney can review your case and offer counsel on the best path forward.
If you need to end your marriage, and you’re not sure where to turn, our firm is here to help. You can reach us by filling out our online contact form or calling us directly at (803) 938-4952.