What is an Annulment?

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If you are a fan of the sitcom Friends, you may recall the episode where Ross attempted to obtain an annulment after drunkenly marrying Rachel in Las Vegas. His attempts at an annulment were stymied, leaving him faced with his third divorce.

People often believe that annulments are easy to obtain in short term divorces, however that simply is not the case. An annulment is an alternative to legal separation and/or divorce in cases that meet its very unique, stringent requirements.

The Grounds for Annulment in Wisconsin

They key word in annulments is “invalid.” There must be a factor that applied before the marriage that can retroactively make the marriage invalid and therefore eligible to be annulled.

Factors that can invalidate a marriage include:

· A recently divorced person marrying within six months of their divorce.

· One of the spouses being under the age of 18 without parents consent

· A person lacks the mental capacity to understand the rights and obligations of marriage.

· A spouse’s impotence (unknown to the other spouse before marriage) rendering them unable to physically consummate the marriage via sexual intercourse.

· One of the spouses already being legally married at the time of the marriage.

· Failure to obtain a valid marriage license pursuant to the laws of the state

While annulment may seem like a hassle-free marriage eraser, the laws regarding annulments are very difficult to meet. Additionally, even in cases that meet the criteria, there may still be issues regarding marital property or debts that were received or incurred during the invalid marriage, and you will need to handle the matter appropriately in court

An experienced family law attorney can review your situation, determine whether you qualify for annulment and help you pursue the next steps. If you are not eligible for annulment, they can guide you through the process for separation and divorce.