Annulment is different from divorce because, in annulment, the marriage will be entirely nullified by the court as if the marriage never existed between the parties. Annulment thus will enable the parties to marry again. Annulment proceedings are restricted to the proof of certain grounds like fraud, insanity, cruelty, or insanity.
There are two basic approaches to divorce: fault-based divorce and "no fault" divorce. Most states permit a "no fault" divorce on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Some states still require a fault-based divorce, some allow no-fault divorces, and a few states permit both. The fault grounds or reasons for divorce vary from state to state. Cruelty is a specific fault ground for divorce in most of the states that allow fault based divorces. Prior to the introduction of no-fault divorce grounds, cruelty was the most frequently used reason in seeking a divorce.
Courts have considered a marriage to be a nullity and able to be annulled when it was established that one of the parties was so incapacitated due to drug or alcohol intoxication during the marriage ceremony as to not know what he or she was doing at the time. The degree of incapacity required to invalidate marriage varies from state to state, but generally requires a level of intoxication that would prevent the spouse from assenting to the marriage.
Property division between the spouses is an important issue in a divorce proceeding. Ascertaining the correct and proper value of the assets and properties of the spouses is key to ensuring a fair and equitable division of the parties' assets. The advice of an expert, who is skilled either by training, special knowledge, education or experience in the specific field beyond the knowledge of an ordinary layman, will be of great help for clearly defining and ascertaining the value of property for future divisions and tax procedures, etc. A common example would be an accountant with specific knowledge of the formulas utilized to calculate the present value of various retirement interests.
In general, uncontested divorce actions occur when either of the spouses does not appear in court in a divorce proceeding or when both the spouses mutually agree upon a divorce and on matters relating to financial settlements, custody, and/or support of their minor children. Typically, that mutual agreement is shown in the divorce petition, and it may include a waiver of service. Uncontested actions may arise in proceedings for dissolution of marriage, annulment, and separation.