Divorce & Annulment Laws for Wisconsin

By Beverly Bird

Divorce ends your marriage, and an annulment "erases" your marriage — it declares that you never legally married in the first place. It is far more difficult to get an annulment in Wisconsin than a divorce; regardless of how long you were married, certain legal circumstances must exist before a court will allow it. Unless you choose an annulment for religious or personal reasons, you can usually dispense with your marriage much more quickly and easily by filing for divorce.

Divorce ends your marriage, and an annulment "erases" your marriage — it declares that you never legally married in the first place. It is far more difficult to get an annulment in Wisconsin than a divorce; regardless of how long you were married, certain legal circumstances must exist before a court will allow it. Unless you choose an annulment for religious or personal reasons, you can usually dispense with your marriage much more quickly and easily by filing for divorce.

Divorce Grounds

Wisconsin is a no-fault state, so you can only file for divorce on the ground that your marriage is irretrievably broken. If you and your spouse file a joint petition stating this, the court doesn’t have to rule that a ground for divorce exists. Otherwise, you can file your own petition after you and your spouse have lived separately for a year. You don’t have to prove that any fault exists; your belief that the marriage is over is usually sufficient for the judge. Your spouse can argue against your ground only by stating that you haven’t lived apart for the required time.

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Annulment Grounds

Annulment grounds are far trickier than divorce grounds in Wisconsin. You must convince a judge that your marriage was illegal in some way from the start. For example, if teenagers younger than 16 somehow manage to marry without the permission of either their parents or the court, this union is annullable. If you or your spouse were not capable of understanding what you were doing when you married, if you were tricked or threatened into getting married, or if you got married only to find out that your spouse was physically disabled to an extent that prevents a normal married life, you can get an annulment and have your marriage “erased."

Children and Financial Issues

Factors of property and children are treated the same in Wisconsin whether you’ve filed for annulment or divorce. An annulment doesn’t make your children illegitimate; they still have the same right to financial support and a relationship with both parents as they would have had if you divorced instead. If you file for annulment, the first hearing addresses whether a ground for annulment exists, then you must proceed to a second hearing to deal with auxiliary issues such as custody and property. If you have children, both annulment and divorce require a parenting plan before a judge will grant you a decree. If you can’t reach one by consent, the court can appoint a guardian ad litem, an attorney to represent the interests of your children, while you litigate custody. A judge can also order a custody evaluation.

Waiting Period

Wisconsin imposes a four-month waiting period between the time you file a petition for divorce and the granting of a divorce. There’s no waiting period for an annulment. If you have a clear-cut case that your marriage was not viable in the first place, you may be able to get an annulment more quickly than a divorce, especially if you have no children and haven't acquired property together. In this case, a second hearing might not be necessary.

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What Is the Meaning When Your Annulment Is Denied?

References

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Tennessee Laws on Annulments

Both a divorce and an annulment result in the dissolution of a marriage in Tennessee, but an annulment is a very specific form of terminating a marriage. You can have a marriage annulled in Tennessee if you prove the marriage is void or voidable, meaning the marriage is either against public policy or one of the spouses is a "victim" tricked into the marriage.

The Limitations for Getting an Annulment

Very few couples can annul their marriages -- it's usually much simpler to divorce instead. In most states, annulment is confined to very specific grounds and deadlines – and you can't get an annulment simply because you were married for only a short period of time unless other factors exist. An annulment voids your marriage as if it never existed, and this sometimes imposes additional limitations.

Valid Reasons for a Marriage Annulment in Texas

All courts need a reason to make rulings, so all lawsuits require grounds – something that has occurred that's contrary to the law. In Texas, you must have grounds for annulment just as you would for a divorce, but there's one major difference: you can get a no-fault divorce because your marriage isn't savable, but you can't get a no-fault annulment. If an annulment rather than a divorce is important to you, such as because of your religious beliefs, you'll have to do it the hard way by proving to the court that you have acceptable grounds under Texas law.

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