An annulment in Minnesota is an end of a marriage because of some defect in it. This defect causes the marriage to be invalid. Most marriages are valid. In these cases, a spouse must divorce to end of a valid marriage.
Therefore, an annulment is appropriate in only a few situations.
When Can I get an Annulment?
Annulments fall into one of two categories. They are:
- In a Void Marriage, or
- In a Voidable Marriage
Annulment in Minnesota: What’s a Void Marriage?
Void marriages are marriages that were never and can never be valid as a matter of law.
Examples of a Void Marriage include:
- Marriages between close blood relatives
- Marriages when one party was still previously married
The second situation is more typical. Specifically, a spouse discovers that his or her current spouse was previously married, and is in fact still married, because that spouse never got legally divorced from the first marriage.
In this situation, the latter marriage is automatically invalid. To fix this, the previously-married spouse must divorce the first spouse. Then, he or she can marry the second spouse legally.
As a historical note, same-sex marriages were void in Minnesota until July 1st, 2013.
Annulment in Minnesota: 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)
- One or both parties were 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.
Without a timely challenge, these spouses may remain legally married.
So Can I Get an Annulment in Minnesota?
In sum, a spouse can only request that the marriage be annulled if he or she can answer “YES” to one of the following questions:
- Are the parties close blood related relatives?
- Was one party still married to another spouse (never legally divorced) at the time of this marriage?
- Either party underage (less than 18 years old) at the time of your marriage?
- Was one party not able to consummate the marriage and the other party didn’t know of this at the time of marriage?
- Did one party lack mental capacity (due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, for example) at the time of the marriage?
- Did one party commit fraud or use force to compel the marriage?
Annulment vs. Divorce: What’s the Difference?
Annulments are for possibly invalid marriages. Divorces are for ending valid marriages. Any marriage that doesn’t involve the above categories is valid in Minnesota. A spouse must use a divorce to end those cases. Unfortunately, an annulment is not a low-cost divorce alternative.
Therefore, almost all marriages in Minnesota need a divorce to end them.
If you have more questions, please review the links to the left, head back to the MN Family Law Attorney home, or visit Majeski Law. If you’re interested in retaining an attorney, please feel free to email or call using the links in the upper right.