Differences Between Annulment & Divorce

Annulments and divorces are very similar, but also very different.  There are some critical differences you need to know if you are not sure whether to ask for an annulment or a divorce.  Read on to learn about the differences.


Similarities to Divorce

Just as in a divorce, a judge in an annulment case will have to determine child custody, and child support if the parties have children together,and can restore a former name to either spouse.  An annulment case will also generally follow the same legal process as a divorce in terms of the steps involved to get a final decree. You can learn about the general legal process and the issues decided as part of an annulment by visiting the Overview of Divorce and Overview of Custody pages.  Keep in mind the differences discussed below! 


Differences from Divorce

The major differences between divorce and annulments are:

Legal Effect

An annulment treats a marriage as if it was invalid because there was some defect related to how or why the marriage took place.  When an annulment is granted, it's as if the parties were never married because the marriage was invalid. 

No Nevada Residency Requirement

Anyone who was married in Nevada can file for an annulment in Nevada; neither person has to be a Nevada resident (a Nevada resident can also file for an annulment here regardless of where the marriage took place).

A Nevada divorce, on the other hand, can only be granted to a Nevada resident. 


A divorce can be granted when the spouses are "incompatible," meaning, they just don't get along anymore.  Neither spouse has to prove anyone did anything wrong to cause the divorce. 

There is a much higher standard for people seeking an annulment.  Whoever is asking for an annulment has the burden to prove why an annulment should be granted - the judge will not grant an annulment until you have proven your case.  There are only a few reasons that a court can grant an annulment.  You can learn more about the reasons for an annulment by visiting the Grounds for Annulment page. 

Property, Debt, and Alimony (also called "spousal support")

Spouses who get an annulment typically cannot ask for alimony, and the court will usually not divide property and debts.  Financial orders are generally based on the parties having a valid marriage.