Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What is an Annulment?

People often ask the difference between an annulment and a divorce. A divorce ends a marriage. An annulment erases the marriage as though it never occurred. Wisconsin statute 767.313 gives circumstances when grounds (valid reasons) for annulment exist. Unfortunately, grounds must exist. People don't get to choose whether they want to be divorced or have their marriage annulled.

Annulments were once popular for religious reasons. Today, annulments are more commonly seen when one party was still married to another person or 6 months had not passed since his/her divorce when he/she got married again. Other reasons can be that one party married solely to use the other party for health insurance or a paycheck.

In Wisconsin, the process for obtaining an annulment can be slightly different than for a divorce. Even if both spouses wanted an annulment, the judge would still need to have a hearing to determine if grounds for annulment existed. In a divorce, no spouse needs to prove that grounds exist to get a divorce. Also, the idea of dividing property 50/50 and maintenance can be out the window in an annulment. I stress "can be," because another hearing or trial would likely need to occur to argue over how finances should be divided when the parties disagree.

Annulments are fact specific. If you are thinking about pursuing an annulment, you should discuss it with a family law attorney.


  1. Annulment is an interesting option but hard to get.

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