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Divorce Alternatives: Why You Need an Attorney for Annulment or Legal Separation

Why Do You Need an Attorney for Annulment or Legal Separation?

When a couple realizes they cannot or should not be married anymore, it can be a stressful and difficult time. While divorce is the right solution for many couples, it is not the only option for ending a marriage. The alternatives of annulment and legal separation may be better suited for some couples, depending on their unique circumstances. While it might seem financially prudent to try to tackle a divorce, annulment or legal separation on your own, it can actually end up being a difficult process, especially if you need to establish the burden of proof or one party is uncooperative. Consulting an experienced Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin divorce lawyer can help you understand all of your options.

What is an Annulment?

An annulment is different than a divorce, in that it will dissolve a marriage as if it never existed. To prove that a marriage should never have existed and is void, you will need to establish a burden of proof, and this is where an attorney can be particularly valuable.

Circumstances for annulment are limited, and include such things as minors entering into a marriage without parental consent, one party already being married, one party being forced into the marriage or consenting under duress, one party being incapacitated, or other significant factors. An attorney can help you determine if you meet the legal qualifications for annulment and help you navigate the process.

What is a Legal Separation?

A legal separation can be achieved when both spouses agree to separate. Couples may decide to pursue legal separation because one spouse needs to maintain insurance benefits, for religious or spiritual reasons, or they want to separate in order to determine if divorce is the right course of action.

The process can look similar to a divorce, because it can be used to establish parenting co-schedules and child support, and separate assets. However, legal separation does not have the finality of divorce, and to achieve that finality you will still need to proceed with divorce.

Why Should You Hire an Attorney to Dissolve Your Marriage?

When you are going through the dissolution of a marriage, it can be stressful and complicated. An experienced family attorney can help you navigate the process as smoothly as possible.

Experienced Legal Advice

In all likeliness, many couples are unaware of all the nuances of dissolving a marriage. One spouse may not realize everything they are entitled to receive, or may settle for less than the courts would grant. It is advisable to seek an experienced attorney if you are ending a marriage that involves children, substantial assets and/or income, or other significant considerations, such as future assets or income (i.e. retirement), because an attorney can help you look at the situation from all angles and help you protect your interests.

Avoiding Mistakes

Unless you have a legal background or experience working in the court system, the legal process can be intimidating. It must also be followed exactly, and mistakes like filing paperwork incorrectly can be time-consuming and costly. Not only do you risk having to pay fees to refile, you may end up complicating the process and needing an attorney to undue your mistakes. Starting the process with an attorney can help you avoid mistakes and move through the process as quickly as possible.

Reduce Stress

Having an attorney handle everything on your behalf can reduce your stress levels significantly. While you will need to be an active participant, an attorney will still handle almost everything for you, which can save you time and allow you to focus on yourself, your family, your work and other priorities.

If you are seeking a divorce, annulment or legal separation in the Duluth area, contact us today for more information. We will help you understand your rights and options under the law, and we always strive to make every experience as stress-free and straightforward as possible.

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