The day you get married is likely the happiest day of your life, and you expect your marriage to last forever. Unfortunately, many marriages do not last. When a marriage comes to an end, couples usually go through a divorce. However, there are some circumstances in which you can obtain an annulment in Wisconsin. An experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney will meet with you to determine the legal options that best fit your needs.
What is an Annulment?
An annulment is a court declaration that nullifies a marriage. If you get your marriage annulled, it is as if it never happened. The marriage would be null and void. If granted, parties would no longer be legally married, and the records would reflect such. The court may order such things as property division, child custody, and support and visitation as part of an annulment. You must meet the criteria to be eligible to request an annulment. The court reviews the details of the case and will determine whether or not to grant an annulment.
What are Grounds for Annulment?
There are limited grounds for annulment in Wisconsin. In order to request an annulment, you must meet one of these grounds:
Underage Marriage – In Wisconsin, the legal age at which a person can legally marry is 18. If you get married before you are 18 without parental consent, the marriage is not considered legal, and you may be allowed an annulment.
Mental Incapacity – If a person gets married while they are mentally impaired, the marriage may be annulled. This applies to impairment due to drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage.
Force, Duress, or Fraud – If a person forces the other to get married under duress or fraud, the marriage may be void.
Bigamy – A person cannot legally get married if they are still married to someone else. If a person commits bigamy, the marriage is not considered legal, and it may be annulled.
Recently Divorced – Wisconsin law does not allow a person to get remarried until they have been divorced for at least six months. If you get married before that, the marriage is considered null and void.
Incest – A marriage between first cousins or closer relatives is not allowed by law. If that occurs, the marriage could be considered invalid.
Impotence – If the marriage cannot be consummated due to impotence, it may be possible to annul the union. The party must not be aware of the impotence issue before getting married.
How Do I File for Annulment?
Statute 767.313 outlines the details of annulment in Wisconsin. While there is no time limit to file for annulment, you must reside in Wisconsin for at least 30 days before you can file a petition for annulment. To begin the process, one party must fill out and file a Petition for Annulment. You must file the form in the circuit court in the county where you or your spouse reside. You must include any supporting documentation or information that is requested. The court will review the petition. If the court denies the petition, the couple would need to file for divorce in order to end the marriage.
Matters concerning annulment and divorce can be complex. Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, you may be able to request an annulment. Contact our lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online to schedule a consultation.