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Termination of Marriage

The marriage relationship may be terminated or set aside by divorce,


separation-voluntary or judicial-or by annulment. Divorce is a judicial act
by which the marriage relationship is dissolved. Unlike ordinary contracts,
marriage contracts may be legally dissolved only by divorce or by death.
There is a technical distinction between divorce, which completely breaks
the bonds of marriage [,] and judicial or legal separation (“divorce from bed-
and-board”), which suspends the marriage relation and provides for the
separate maintenance of the wife by the husband. A separation agreement
arises out of a voluntary separation (as distinguished from a judicial
separation), whereby a husband and wife agree to live apart with an
arrangement for the support of the wife and the custody and support of
any children of the marriage. Annulment is a court decree holding that a
marriage is a nullity from the beginning; that is, no valid marriage ever
existed. It differs from a divorce in that it must be founded on a cause
which existed at the time of the marriage. In a divorce, the court dissolves
the marriage; in an annulment, the court holds that the marriage was
invalid from the beginning.
George Gordon Coughlin, Law for the Layman, Nueva York, Harper & Row, 1975, pág. 171.