What is an Annulment?
An Annulment in Wisconsin is a legal declaration that a marriage is not valid. Once a court annuls a marriage, it’s as if the parties were never married in the first place. Annulment in Wisconsin is controlled by Wisconsin Statutes Section 767.313, titled “Annulment.”
How Do I get an Annulment in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, a court may only annul a marriage in the following circumstances:
- (1) Either party to the marriage lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage when the marriage occurred. The lack of capacity to consent could be based on:
- (1) The party’s age;
- (2) The party’s mental capacity to understand what he or she was doing;
- (3) The influence of drugs or alcohol;
- (2) Either party to the marriage was induced to marry the other party by fraud or force or duress. The fraud must have been a fraud regarding something that was essential to the marriage.
- (3) One party to the marriage was either 16 or 17 years old at the time of the marriage and did not have the consent of his or her parent or guardian. Or, one of the parties was 16 or younger at the time of the marriage.
Expert Tip: A parent or guardian who requests an annulment based on the age of their child at the time of the marriage must request an annulment within one year of learning of the marriage.
- (4) Wisconsin Law prohibits the marriage. For example, Wisconsin law prohibits being married to two people at once. So if one party is married to someone else at the time of the marriage, Wisconsin Law prohibits the second marriage, and the court could annul the second marriage.
Who Can Request an Annulment in Wisconsin?
Either party to the marriage may request an annulment. Also, the legal representative of a party that lacks the capacity to consent to the marriage can also request an annulment. However, the request for an annulment must be made within one year of the party learning that one of the above conditions exists or existed at the time of the marriage.
Expert Tip: An annulment cannot be granted after one party to the marriage dies. Thus, the annulment must be granted while both parties to the marriage are alive.
How Is an Annulment in Wisconsin different from a Divorce in Wisconsin?
Both an annulment and a divorce in Wisconsin will end a marriage. However, the important difference is that an annulment ends an invalid marriage whereas a divorce ends a marriage that was legally valid. Any party to a marriage may request a divorce if the marriage is irretrievably broken. However, a party may only request an annulment if one of the circumstances described above is present. In both an annulment and a divorce, the court will determine issues with regard to child custody and placement if the parties cannot agree.
Attorney Christopher Glinski is the managing partner of Glinski Law Office. He is one of the top Family Lawyers in Racine, Wisconsin. He has been recognized as one of the Top 40 Trial Lawyers under 40 Years Old in Wisconsin. He has a “superb” rating on Avvo and has earned the endorsement of numerous attorneys in Wisconsin. Call or text Glinski Law Office at (414) 313-7918.