Seeking an Annulment in Calgary: A Rare and Difficult Alternative to Divorce Part 1

May 16, 2016

People make mistakes, in many ways and in many areas of their lives. We often wish we could go back and simply erase them, pulling them out of our pasts and throwing them away as though they had never happened. Life would be a lot simpler if it worked that way, there's no question, and moving past our mistakes would be far easier if their effects could be simply wiped away.

This line of thinking comes up for many individuals in Calgary considering a divorce. Some marriages simply run their course, leaving two people with memories but who simply want to separate and start independent lives. Other marriages can feel like they were mistakes right from the start, and the one or both of the spouses involved feel like they would be better off if they had never been married in the first place. For people who find themselves in such a marriage, an annulment can seem like a better option than a divorce.

The Legal Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce

There can be religious and cultural differences in the way divorces and annulments are viewed and the ways in which they are carried out, but these do not affect the divorce and annulment laws in effect in Calgary. All legal marriages are treated the same by the Courts, no matter what the religious, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds of the spouses may be. All marriages are subject to the same laws, and that includes laws regarding divorces and annulments—the same sets of rules apply whether you were married in a church or other place of worship, in a room at the Court House, or anywhere else.

So whatever the religious and cultural implications of an annulment rather than a divorce might be for you personally, understand that the law doesn't take those personal implications into consideration. You may be able to receive a religious annulment without receiving a legal annulment, and vice versa—they are two different undertakings.

In a typical Calgary divorce, the Courts seek out the fairest outcome for both parties based on the length of the marriage, what each spouse contributed to and/or sacrificed for the marriage (e.g. one spouse giving up a career to raise children), and certain other factors. The basic legal premise of a divorce is that there's a single entity (the married couple) dividing into two individual entities (the two ex-spouses), and there needs to be a fair and equitable way to split the resources, debts, and so on.

In an annulment, the basic legal premise is that the marriage should never have existed. Instead of trying to determine how to equitably split up a partnership, the law tries to restore things to their condition prior to the marriage taking place. It's an attempt to "erase" the "mistake" of the marriage as though it had never happened.

For a variety of reasons explored in Part 2 of this article, annulments in Calgary are very rare.

Speaking to a Calgary Divorce Lawyer About an Annulment

If you would like to speak with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer regarding a potential annulment, or about your options in bringing a divorce proceeding before the Calgary Courts, please contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

This entry was posted in Blog and posted on May 16, 2016

Return to News