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How Do You Decide Between Filing an Annulment or a Divorce?

Deciding to end a marriage can be a difficult and emotional decision. Choosing whether to file for an annulment or a divorce can add an extra layer of confusion and stress. That’s why it’s important to understand the key differences between the two options before deciding. In this blog post, we will explain the main differences between annulment and divorce and help you determine which option might be best for your situation.

The first step in deciding whether to file for an annulment or a divorce is to understand the legal definition of each. Annulment is a legal procedure that declares a marriage invalid. Essentially, an annulment is a legal “do-over,” as if the marriage never happened. Divorce, on the other hand, is the legal dissolution of a valid marriage. You might choose to file for an annulment if you believe that your marriage was not legally valid to begin with. If you believe that your marriage was valid but has irretrievably broken down, divorce may be the better option for you.

What Are the Main Differences Between Annulment and Divorce in Nevada?

If you were married in Nevada, you are eligible to file an annulment in Nevada without being a resident. For a divorce, however, you must be a current Nevada resident. This alone leads people to want to file an annulment instead of a divorce if they were married in Nevada, but do not reside here, especially if divorce laws in their home state are harsh, or if it takes a long time to dissolve a marriage there.

In a divorce, there are essentially only three valid reasons:

  • Incompatibility (most divorces are filed using this reason as there is nothing to be proven)
  • The parties have lived separate and apart for 1 year without cohabitation
  • Insanity existing for 2 years prior to the commencement of the action.

Qualifying Reasons for an Annulment in Nevada

The grounds for annulment are broader than those for divorce. However, in filing for annulment, it is essential to be specific about the grounds for filing. The exact reason for annulment must be proven, mainly in cases where fraud is claimed. The reasons for qualifying for an annulment in Nevada include:

  • Lack of consent of parent or guardian
  • Want of understanding
  • Fraud
  • Grounds for declaring the contract void in equity

It is vital to work with a family law attorney to determine whether the grounds for annulment apply to your situation.

Want of Understanding

One of the valid reasons for annulment in Nevada is ‘want of understanding.’ This means something must have interfered with one or both parties’ ability to understand the implications of getting married. For instance, if one or both parties were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of marriage, it could be a valid reason for annulment. Similarly, severe emotional distress or psychological issues could interfere with a party’s understanding of the marriage contract.


Fraud is another common basis for annulment. If one party misrepresented themselves to the other party, it can be grounds for annulment. For instance, if one party hid a drug addiction or a previous marriage from the other party at the time of marriage, it can be considered fraud.

Contact the Team at Smith Legal Group to Choose Between Annulment and Divorce

Deciding between an annulment and divorce can be complicated and emotionally charged. If you were married in Nevada, an annulment may be a viable option if you don’t reside here. But if your marriage was legally valid and you simply wish to end it, divorce may be the better choice. Whatever your decision, it’s important to discuss your options with an experienced family law attorney. At Smith Legal Group, we have helped many clients navigate the annulment and divorce processes in Nevada. Contact us today at 702-410-5001 to learn more.