Divorce is technically not the only means of ending a marriage. Under select circumstances, couples can seek an annulment, in which their union is deemed invalid. While many couples fail to even consider annulment as an option, it can hold considerable advantages for qualifying couples. We’re here to clear up the confusion; read on to learn more:

Why Annulment?

In a financial sense, annulment can prove preferable simply because it removes the need for alimony. Because the marriage is declared nonexistent, annulment eliminates any claim to spousal maintenance. Child support, however, could be available — just as it could if unmarried parents separate.

With property division, courts attempt to trace all assets back to their origins. If property cannot be divided in this manner, courts should strive for fair division while attempting to place spouses in the relative position they occupied prior to their invalid marriage.

Some spouses prefer annulment on a purely emotional level. Because annulments underscore that the marriage was never valid in the first place, they can offer a valuable sense of closure to those who feel they are not ‘at fault’ for the marriage’s demise.

When Divorce Is Preferable

The downside of seeking an annulment? It may require extensive documentation — well beyond that required for divorce. Even if you believe you qualify for an annulment, you may struggle to prove your eligibility in court. While the logistics of divorce can be complicated, qualification standards alone may make dissolution far simpler than annulment. Ultimately, there is no easy solution; you’ll want to work with a trusted attorney to determine which approach works best under your unique circumstances.

Whether you ultimately opt for annulment or divorce, you can benefit from strong legal representation. Reach out at your earliest convenience to learn more about our approach to annulment and divorce.

Photo of Cynthia J. Brown Cynthia J. Brown

“Some lawyers play a lot of games. That’s not my approach. There is a lot of gray area in the law, but I try to keep things relatively straightforward for my clients. That way, we can all focus on what’s really important: getting…

“Some lawyers play a lot of games. That’s not my approach. There is a lot of gray area in the law, but I try to keep things relatively straightforward for my clients. That way, we can all focus on what’s really important: getting matters settled fairly and cost-effectively. We’re certainly ready to litigate, but favor empowering clients to control the outcome of their case.”

Cynthia is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. She publishes extensively on divorce and family law issues.

Cynthia Brown was admitted to practice in 1998. After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced family law with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A., in 2003.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor and public defender. In the last decade, however, Cynthia’s practice has focused primarily on family law. She has handled a wide variety of matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child support, alimony, paternity, step-parent adoption, harassment and grandparent rights.

Cynthia publishes extensively on divorce and family law issues. She is a contributing author to the Family Law Forum, the quarterly publication of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Cynthia also writes a bi-monthly family law column for the Minnesota Lawyer newspaper, and monthly articles for Divorce Magazine.

Cynthia obtained her Bachelor’s Degree, magna cum laude, from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, and her Juris Doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, beading and spending time with family. She and her husband, Jason, also an attorney, have two children.