Happily Ever After Isn't For Everyone: Here Are Your Relationship Ending Options

Couples get married with the thought of living happily ever after and growing old together, but for some couples, it eventually becomes apparent that they are not compatible. If you are in this situation, you have a few options, depending on if you want to try to work things out, or prefer to make a clean break. Before making a rash decision, it is important to understand your options. 

Pretending It Didn't Happen

An annulment is kind of like pretending the marriage didn't happen. It is a legal action that voids a marriage and frees both partners. Annulments are for couples who have not been married a short time and have grounds for an annulment. Some acceptable grounds include the following.

  • Fraud, which means your new spouse lied to you prior to marriage; if you had known the truth the marriage would not have taken place
  • Mental incompetence, which is where a person does not understand the significance of marriage due to mental illness or drug abuse
  • Bigamy, which is being married to one person and marrying another
  • Impotence, which prevents a couple from consummating their marriage

Couples also ask for annulments when their religion forbids divorce. However, keep in mind that even if your church annuls your marriage, you are still married in the eyes of the law. 

Taking A Break

A separation is generally a private matter, but some states recognize a judicial separation that involves the court. In a judicial separation, the court decides or approves the terms of a couple's separation, similar to a divorce. 

Sometimes a legal separation is for couples who are not getting along, but not ready to call it quits. The couple can take some time away from each other and slowly work on problems that are causing turbulence in the marriage. In some cases, the distance does make the heart grow fonder.

Sometimes a separation is just the first step to divorce. Either you or your partner are not getting along and need to get away while going through divorce proceedings. However, it is important to remember that separated couples are still married and have the same legal and rights and responsibilities as married couples. 

There are other reasons for separations. Some people separate with no intentions of getting divorced so that the spouse can remain covered by the health insurance or to gain other benefits. Separation is also another option for couples whose religion forbids a divorce. 

Going For The Big D

Divorce is for couples who know it's over. Today, you do not need grounds for divorce; you can file for a no-fault divorce and claim irreconcilable differences, which mean you just can't get along. Divorce is actually one partner initiating a civil lawsuit against another, so when children and property are involved, it is a good idea to hire a divorce attorney to assist with splitting up of properly and child custody arrangements. 

If you and your spouse aren't getting along, you have options to take a break or end it; it's up to you. If you have any legal questions, consult an attorney who knows the laws surrounding annulment, separation, and divorce in yours state.