Family law basic terms – Dissolution of Marriage, Divorce, Annulment

Dissolution of Marriage

Entering into a marriage entails certain obligations and legal rights on the wife and the husband both. In order to get out of a marriage, a spouse needs to initiate the necessary legal proceedings in order to obtain an annulment or a divorce. It is commonly believed that divorce is the culmination of marriage that breaks down. This, however, is only a misconception. Yes, the breakdown of a marriage can lead to people filing for divorce but it is not the only option there is for a marriage to be legally dissolved.

ANNULMENT: A divorce, when granted, terminates a marriage. An annulment, on the other hand, ceases to recognize the marriage and declares it null and void. Annulments are fairly rarer than divorces and they also have entirely different grounds. The question that arises now is the kinds of marriages that can be eligible for annulment. Only marriages that are void and voidable can be qualified to be annulled. Marriages that are void can be annulled automatically. However, when a marriage is voidable, one of the parties must seek annulment and only then can it be granted. Once the court grants annulment, the marital status of the spouses returns to what it was before marriage. Only a marriage that is void or voidable qualifies for annulment.

DIVORCE: Divorce is the outcome of a marriage that has broken down, for whatever reason that may have occurred. In order to make one’s divorce petition successful, one is required to file the petition under valid and lawful grounds. In India, however, owing to the taboo attached to divorce, the process of filing for divorce can be fairly challenging. Not only does one have to battle the social stigma that revolves around divorce, the economical threats that may arise during the divorce proceedings also need to be taken into account.