In the state of Wisconsin, you can end your marriage either by divorcing your spouse or by annulling it. But what are the differences between the two? For most people, it makes sense to talk to a Milwaukee divorce lawyer who can answer questions and provide legal advice.
What is an Annulment?
An annulment is a method of ending an invalid marriage. Think of it as a contract; when the contract is invalid, nobody is bound to the terms it contains.
In Wisconsin, you must have legal grounds for an annulment, and not everyone is eligible. You must show that one or both of you:
- Were too young to have legally married
- Were, at the time of the marriage, too mentally impaired to understand the marriage (intoxication counts)
- Were forced, coerced or threatened to marry
- Lied or hid something vital to the marriage
- Cannot physically have sex
- Were already married to someone else who was alive at the time of your marriage
- Are first cousins or closer
- Were recently divorced from someone else (within the past six months)
How is an Annulment Different From Divorce?
An annulment cancels the contract you entered into when you got married – it shows that you were never legally married.
In a divorce, the courts recognize that you had a valid, legal marriage contract and that you want to end your obligation to that contract.
Effects of an Annulment
If the judge grants you an annulment, he or she can still treat it like a divorce by ordering child custody, child support, alimony and the division of property. The children will still be considered legitimate, which gives them the right to be financially supported by both parents.
What if You Don’t Qualify for Annulment?
If you don’t qualify for an annulment, you can still divorce your spouse. Call us at 414-383-6700 to talk about your situation – we may be able to help you. If it’s easier, feel free to contact us online to set up an appointment with a Milwaukee divorce attorney who can explain your options.