Yes, an annulment is an alternative to divorce, but it is situational. An annulment is similar to a divorce as it will end a marriage, but unlike a divorce getting an annulment ends an invalid marriage.
There are several misnomers about annulments that confuse people. First, a church can grant a religious annulment, but legally this does not mean anything. Second to truly get an annulment in the eyes of the state of Wisconsin there must be legal grounds that the marriage was never a valid marriage.
Grounds for a Civil Annulment in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin to obtain an annulment there must be legal grounds for a court to annul a marriage. Under Wisconsin Statute 767.313 (1) the following describes legal grounds for an annulment.
- 767.313 (1) (a) Lacking the capacity to consent to marriage (any of the following reasons apply)
- Mental Incapacity or Infirmity
- Influence of Alcohol, Drugs, or Incapacitating Substances
- Entered into marriage by Force or Duress
- Entered in marriage under Fraudulent Pretenses
- 767.313 (1) (b) Lacking the physical ability to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse as well as impotence
- 767.313 (1) (c) Under the age of 17 years and married without the consent parents or guardian
Difference between an Annulment and Divorce
The difference between an annulment and a divorce is annulment ends an invalid marriage. However, an annulment still requires making difficult decisions regarding marital property, child custody, child support, and spousal support. These decisions do not simply go away, and in many cases a judge will simply rule on the issues.
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