What are the differences among an annulment, a divorce, and a legal separation?

There are distinct differences among the options for separating from one’s spouse, which include legal separation, annulment, formal divorce. Still, there remains a common thread linking these alternatives: in all cases, a married couple seeks separation on some level so as to live apart (temporarily or permanently). Whether or not the couple wants to divide assets or seeks mediation to craft parameters for any ongoing relationship (including co-parenting) is specific to each couple.


Separation, annulment, and divorce have another trait in common: each is a formal declaration which initiates legal and financial consequences. Note that individual states, including Connecticut, hold specific standards and expectations regarding how couples break up, so it’s smart to do research and to seek legal advice before proceeding to protect yourself and your family.


An annulment may be preferable on some levels, as it effectively erases any record that the union took place; certainly annulment is useful for one who seeks to proceed without the supposed dishonor of divorce, which is the official and legal end to a recognized marriage.


Annulment, Divorce, and Legal Separation

We often get the question “what is the difference between an annulment, a divorce, and a legal separation?” The ending of a marriage or partnership may be emotionally charged, and arguments may replace reason. During these times, an attorney experienced in the state with jurisdiction over your case may be required to help provide direction and insight to help resolve the conflict.


Divorce is a legal dissolution of a marriage or domestic partnership and declares the husband and wife, or domestic partners to be single again. A divorce may mean involvement with your ex-spouse for years to come if children or finances are involved, but both parties are free to marry or enter into another domestic partnership again. This is one of the most commonly used methods of ending a marriage or domestic partnership.