If you’re considering an annulment, there are a few things you need to know first – including how to get one, what it means if your marriage was annulled, and how annulment is different from divorce.
What is an Annulment?
An annulment is a legal declaration that makes a marriage invalid. In simpler terms, an annulment makes it like you were never even married. Under Wisconsin law, a court can annul a marriage if:
- One party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage for any reason
- One party doesn’t have the physical capacity to consummate the marriage (have sex)
- One party was 16 or 17 at the time of the marriage and married without parental consent or judicial approval, or one party was under the age of 16
- The marriage is prohibited by state law (such as when one party is already married to someone else)
According to the law, these are the only reasons a person can seek an annulment – and if they don’t fit your situation, you’re going to need to think about divorce instead.
What is an Annulment Compared to Divorce?
Annulment is different from divorce because it invalidates your whole marriage – it’s like it never even happened. Divorce, on the other hand, still acknowledges that you were married; it’s just a dissolution of your marriage contract.
Related: Can I get an annulment in Wisconsin?
How Long Do You Have to Annul a Marriage in Wisconsin?
Usually, you only have a year to annul a marriage in Wisconsin. For example, if one party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage or lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage, you must annul it no later than one year after you obtain knowledge of the incapacity.
If you’re dealing with an underaged couple, you have until the underaged party reaches the age of 18 – but a parent or guardian must bring suit within a year of learning of the marriage.
If the marriage is prohibited by Wisconsin law, you have to bring suit within 10 years of the marriage – except in the case of bigamy, and then the 10-year limitation doesn’t apply.
What is an Annulment Petition in Wisconsin?
In order to get your marriage annulled in Wisconsin, you’ll have to file a Petition for Annulment, which your attorney can do for you. The form needs to be filed in the circuit court where either party lives (and you must have lived in Wisconsin for at least 30 days before you file). For many people, the best course of action is to work with a divorce attorney who’s familiar with annulment.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Annulment?
If you’re considering annulment, or if you’d like to see what other options you have, we’ll be more than happy to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation with a Milwaukee divorce attorney now.