Typically a person meets with a family law attorney because they want a divorce, which the Court refers to as a Dissolution of Marriage. This involves the division of assets and debts, settting the custody and visitation schedule for the children, setting support for the children and a spouse, and other related issues.
But there are other methods to conclude a marriage.
Annulments Not for Everyone
Most everyone has heard of an annulment. This means the marriage was not legally valid. This is an attractive way to end a short unsuccessful marriage. However, it is more difficult than most people think. And, the length of the marriage is not a factor in whether the Court will grant an annulment.
To obtain an annulment requires proof of the legal reason that the marriage was not valid. Normally this requires a Court hearing at which this proof is presented. As this is sometimes not successful, I recommend that my clients who want an annulment also request a divorce; should the court not grant the annulment the client can proceed to obtain the divorce. Otherwise, the party will have to start again from scratch (and pay another Court fee) to obtain an divorce.
What about Legal Separation?
In a limited number of situations the parties may be better off by obtaining a legal separation, instead of a divorce. These situations need to be carefully evaluated because if the case ends in a legal separation the parties are still married. They cannot remarry as long as the prior marriage continues. If they later decide to become divorced they will need to file a second case to obtain a divorce.
I can assist you in divorce, including determining whether you would qualify for an annulment and whether a legal separation would be appropriate.