An Informative Guide on Annulment vs. Divorce in Arizona

Investigative Article: Uncovering the Truth about Annulment vs. Divorce in Arizona


Marriage is supposed to be a lifelong commitment, but sometimes things just don't work out as planned. When a couple decides to end their marital relationship, there are two legal methods to do so in Arizona: annulment and divorce. While both serve the same objective, they differ significantly in their definitions, legal implications, and the procedures involved. In this investigative article, we will explore the differences between annulment and divorce in Arizona, and uncover the facts you need to know before making a decision.

The Legal Definitions of Annulment and Divorce

The first thing to understand is the legal definitions of annulment and divorce. An annulment is a declaration by the court that a marriage is void or invalid from its inception. In other words, an annulment erases the marriage as though it never existed legally. This can happen for several reasons, such as one or both parties being under the age of 18 at the time of the marriage, a party being already married or in a domestic partnership, or the marriage being the result of fraud or duress. On the other hand, divorce recognizes that a legally valid marriage has ended. It is a court process that dissolves the marriage, and usually involves division of marital assets, determination of child custody and support, and may include spousal maintenance.

The Legal Implications of Annulment vs. Divorce

The legal implications of annulment and divorce are also quite different. When a marriage is annulled, it is as though the marriage never happened. This means that there are no community property rights, and any assets that were obtained during the marriage are kept by the individual who obtained them. There are also no spousal maintenance rights, and child support is only ordered for children born during the marriage. Additionally, an annulled marriage cannot be used as a basis for spousal benefits, such as Social Security. In contrast, when a marriage is dissolved through divorce, the court makes orders related to the division of property, spousal maintenance, and child support. Arizona is a community property state, which means that any property or debt acquired during the marriage is generally considered community property and subject to equal division. Spousal maintenance may also be ordered if one party is unable to support themselves after the divorce.

The Procedures Involved

The procedures involved in annulment and divorce are also different. An annulment generally requires that one of the parties file a petition with the court, and prove to the court that the marriage is void or invalid. This may involve providing evidence of fraud, duress, or other factors that make the marriage legally invalid. Once the court grants the annulment, the marriage is considered to have never existed legally. On the other hand, a divorce requires that one of the parties file a petition with the court, and provide notice to the other party of the divorce proceedings. The parties must then negotiate or litigate issues related to property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody and support. Once the court enters a final decree of divorce, the marriage is legally dissolved.


In conclusion, the decision to pursue an annulment or a divorce is a serious one, and should not be taken lightly. Annulment and divorce differ significantly in their definitions, legal implications, and the procedures involved. Understanding these differences is crucial for anyone considering either option to end their marital relationship. If you need legal advice or representation regarding annulment or divorce in Arizona, it is always best to consult with an experienced family law attorney.


  • Annulment vs divorce in Arizona
  • Legal implications of annulment vs divorce
  • Procedures of annulment vs divorce
  • What is an annulment in Arizona
  • What is a divorce in Arizona
  • Community property vs separate property
  • Spousal support in Arizona
Annulment vs. Divorce in Arizona-DeNovo Law Firm

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