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Divorce vs. Legal Separation vs. Annulment

Last updated 5 years ago

Marriages are often fraught with difficulties. If you and your partner are contemplating separating, you have two options: divorce or legal separation. Alternatively, if your marriage is not valid under state law, you may also seek an annulment. All options require counsel with a local family law attorney. Here are the differences between a divorce, separation, and annulment.


The formal termination or dissolution of a marriage is known as a divorce. This process ends your legal relationship with your spouse and allows both parties to start over. In Arizona, you may file for divorce if you and your spouse have lived in the state for at least 60 days and do not have a covenant marriage. After the divorce proceeding, you will leave with a legally binding judicial order for child custody, alimony, and property division.

Legal Separation

Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not formally terminate your marriage. A legal separation allows you to live apart from your spouse and decide if reconciliation or divorce is right for your situation. Similar to a formal divorce proceeding, a family law judge can help you divide all of your property and create a legally binding child custody agreement between you and your spouse.


In Arizona, annulments are only granted for a handful of reasons or impediments. The main grounds are instances when one party is underage or when there is evidence of incest, intoxication, duress, or fraud. If you have been coerced into your union under unfair or illegal circumstances, you may be able to file for a formal annulment.

Ending a marriage can be an emotional time, which is why hiring a family law attorney is essential to making the legal process pain-free. Arizona residents looking for family law advice should contact the Phoenix office of Blumberg & Associates. We can help you decide if a divorce, separation, or annulment is right for you. Call (602) 277-6180 to schedule a free case evaluation today.


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