An annulment refers to the end of a marriage because of some defect in it. It is due to this “defect” that the marriage was never valid from the start. Therefore, there are only a few occasions when you can get an annulment in Minnesota.
When Can I get an Annulment?
To simplify, the two circumstances in which you could proceed with an annulment are:
- In a Void Marriage, or
- In a Voidable Marriage
Annulment in MN: What’s a Void Marriage?
Void marriages refer to marriages that were never and can never be valid as a matter of law.
Examples of a Void Marriage in Minnesota include:
- Marriages between close blood relatives
- Marriages when one party was still previously married
Most typically, a void marriage situation occurs because of the latter situation. Specifically, the later spouse discovers that his/her current spouse was previously married, and is in fact still married, because his/her current spouse never got legally divorced in his/her first marriage.
In this situation, the latter marriage is automatically invalid in Minnesota. The solution is to have the married party legally divorce and then remarry their second spouse.
Annulment in MN: What’s a Voidable Marriage?
Voidable marriages are those that will be allowed to continue, despite their deficiency, unless one party or the other challenges the marriage in a timely manner based on the deficiency.
Examples of a Voidable Marriage in Minnesota include:
- At least one party was underage (less than 18 years old)
- At least one party was not able to consummate the marriage and the other party did not know of this at the time of marriage or
- At least one party lacked capacity (due to any of the following: incapacity due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or mental incapacity), or one party committed fraud or used force to compel the marriage.
So Can I Get an Annulment in MN?
Therefore, to summarize, you can only request that your marriage be annulled if you can answer “YES” to one of the following questions below:
- 1). Are the parties close blood related relatives?
- 2). Was one party still married to another spouse (never legally divorced) at the time of this marriage?
- 3). Was one party underage (less than 18 years old) at the time of your marriage?
- 4). Was one party not able to consummate the marriage and the other party didn’t know of this at the time of marriage?
- 5). Did one party lack mental capacity (due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for example) at the time of the marriage?
- 6). Did one party commit fraud or use force to compel the marriage?
Annulment vs. Divorce: What’s the Difference?
A common misconception is that you can use an annulment as a low-cost divorce substitute. However, that is not the case.
As previously mentioned, you can only request an annulment if your marriage is a void or voidable marriage.
In other words, if you weren’t able to say “YES” to any of the 6 questions listed above, your marriage is not a void or voidable marriage.
Instead, your marriage is valid and the only way to legally end a valid marriage is by divorce.
Therefore, most typically, people looking into an annulment discover that they need a divorce to end their marriage.