Learn about annulment from award-winning Wisconsin family law attorneys
An annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void from the inception. Learn the details of annulment in Wisconsin below.
Questions answered in this article:
What is an annulment? | What qualifications do you need to get an annulment in Wisconsin? | Can you get a marriage annulled without the other person? | How long after marriage can you get an annulment? | Can you annul a divorce? | How long does the annulment process take? | How much does getting an annulment cost?
A legal annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void from the inception.
Annulments are very rare and are difficult to obtain because the circumstances under which one can seek an annulment are very limited. In Wisconsin, a legal annulment can only be granted on the following grounds:
Annulments and divorces are both “actions for dissolution”—that is, they both legally dissolve a marriage. An annulment is a legal procedure that declares the marriage null and void from the beginning. A divorce is a legal procedure that terminates a valid marriage.
Under the statutes, however, the court must evaluate some of the same issues in annulment proceedings and divorce proceedings. For example:
If you are ready to seek an annulment, schedule a confidential consultation with us or complete the form below.
We'll gather evidence and get prepared to assert your grounds for annulment. Unfortunately, that can be difficult to do alone.
We'll file papers and evidence so it can be reviewed by the county court.
To obtain an annulment you must meet one of the following criteria:
You must also meet the relevant time constraints. The allegations above must all be asserted within either one year of the marriage or one year of learning about the condition meeting the criteria except that if the marriage is prohibited by the laws of Wisconsin, the action must be brought within 10 years.
If the parties do not meet the above criteria, they cannot get an annulment even if they agree that they both want one.
Short answer: Yes.
You can unilaterally obtain an annulment in the same way you can unilaterally obtain a divorce or legal separation. You must file the action and either prove you gave notice to the other party or prove that you made reasonable attempts to serve them and could not (in which case you will have to publish notice of the action in a special newspaper). If the other party has actual or constructive notice of the proceedings and chooses not to appear or participate, you can still get a judgment of annulment from the court as long as you can prove you meet one of the listed criteria.
Short answer: It depends.
In most cases, and annulment must be initiated within one year of the legal marriage. There are certain circumstances which may extend that time. In other cases, the annulment may be initiated as much as ten years after the marriage. To verify the deadline that applies to you, consult with an experienced family lawyer.
Short answer: No.
Divorce is an alternative to an annulment. So, if you have gotten divorced, you have already terminated the marriage and cannot subsequently annul it.
However, a legal annulment is different from a religious annulment. It is possible your religion may require you to get a civil divorce before you can be eligible for a spiritual or religious annulment. In this case, you will get a legal divorce and a religious annulment
Once you’ve decided that you’re eligible for annulment, you’ll need to initiate annulment proceedings:
Short answer: It depends.
If you obviously meet the criteria for annulment and if you and your spouse are in agreement the marriage should be annulled and you have no disputes regarding how to divide or settle your affairs, you annulment proceedings could be concluded in approximately 4 to 6 months.
If there is a dispute about whether or not you meet the criteria for annulment; if you and your spouse have a dispute over children or property; or if you cannot locate your spouse for service, the process could take much longer (up to one year or more).
Short answer: It depends.
Because the process is very similar to the divorce process, you can expect to pay a similar amount for a divorce and an annulment. However, the costs of any kind of marriage dissolution proceeding depends on many different factors: Whether both parties have attorneys, whether they are both cooperative with the process, whether they are generally agreeable or have much to fight about, etc. The cost can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars per party.
For an estimate of costs it is important to know the specific facts of your case.
No one knows the Wisconsin annulment process better. We've also won awards for cases involving the following practice areas of family law in Wisconsin:
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