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Kardashian provides lesson on divorce vs. annulment

When a marriage comes to an end, many Alabama residents involved in the process may not care what legal term is used to describe the situation. Yet, whether a marriage ends in a divorce or an annulment can have significant consequences on the couple’s affairs.

Take, for instance, the recent high asset divorce of celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. As many Alabama residents are aware, Kardashian filed for divorce in October 2011 after 72 days of marriage with Humphries. A month later, Humphries filed for an annulment and a legal separation.

The high-profile couple continues to dispute whether the marriage should end by divorce or annulment, with significant assets at stake depending on the court’s determination of the matter. Namely, Kardashian is refusing to return the $2 million dollar engagement ring given by Humphries, because the parties’ prenuptial agreement provides that she is entitled to the item. Humphries, meanwhile, is arguing he is entitled to the return of the ring because the marriage was a fraud.

Humphries’ theory depends on the court granting an annulment, which essentially says the marriage was never valid in the eyes of the law. While there are multiple grounds to establish an annulment, fraud may exist where one party misrepresented information in order to induce the other to enter the marriage.

After an annulment, an individual loses certain rights enjoyed as a married person. For instance, spousal support is not available in the case of an annulment, as contrasted with a divorce. Property and succession rights may also be affected under an annulment.

Accordingly, while the marriage terminates in the case of either a divorce or an annulment, the legal ramifications may differ significantly between the two concepts. Parties should be aware of these consequences as they consider whether to seek an annulment or a divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, “Kim Kardashian, Kris Humphries: Engagement Ring Causing Drama in Divorce,” Nov. 30, 2012