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When a marriage comes to an end, many things change. For some, the biggest issue is one’s legal status. For others, the biggest issues are spiritual. Some marriages don’t just end with a divorce – they end with a religious annulment. When this happens, many are left wondering what their legal status might be. After all, they’re no longer married in the eyes of their religion – but what does that mean in the eyes of the law? Unfortunately, understanding this means taking a few minutes to understand the difference between the spiritual and legal consequences of getting married and getting divorced.
A marriage can be thought of to be composed of two separate and distinct portions. One portion is the social or religious aspect and the other is the legal aspect. The social and religious aspects of marriage vary from couple to couple, but the legal status of marriage is the same across the board. That’s why many people will have private ceremonies that don’t change their legal status – they are married in the eyes of their friends or the eyes of their religion, but not in the eyes of the state. Likewise, many people are married only in civil ceremonies and don’t consider their marriage to have any kind of spiritual component whatsoever.
When it comes down to it, though, the law really only considers the legal ramifications of your marriage. While your religious beliefs may be very important to you and your former spouse, they’re not something that’s taken into account on a legal basis. Anything done to change your marital status will need to go through the proper legal channels – even if you have gone through the religious channels already. As such, your religious annulment has very little impact on your legal marriage.
This isn’t to say that your religious annulment is unimportant, though. Indeed, a religious annulment may help you to prove many of the same elements that would be necessary to prove a civil annulment. It certainly goes a long way towards helping you prove that both you and your spouse wish to end your marriage, and will do quite a bit to help you feel comfortable with how your future will go. What a religious annulment will not do, though, is change your status for legal or tax reasons. If you receive a religious annulment, you will not be able to legally remarry even if both you and your spouse consider your marriage to be over.
No matter what your spouse might tell you, you’ll need to undergo either the civil annulment or divorce process once you decide you want your marriage to end. There are many people who think that the ending of a marriage by religious fiat is more than enough to satisfy the legal requirements and can find themselves in major trouble as they try to make other life changes. If you really want to be sure that your marriage is over, it’s important that you move through the same legal channels as everyone else.
Try to remember that marriage really is a legal contract first and foremost. Your religious beliefs are important to you, but they don’t change the way the law looks at your marriage. If you want to be sure your marriage has ended, consult an attorney to make sure you have taken the right steps. Ending the social and religious portion of a marriage is very important, but it may not be the end of the road for you. Taking the time to make sure everything is done correctly in the eyes of the law is important, especially if you want to move on with your life. This can be a difficult process, especially if ending the religious marriage was traumatic, but it is something you will need to do to make sure you can enter into a new marriage or completely close the chapter on your old life.
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