Since annulling a marriage essentially makes it null and void, it seems on the surface as if it is the same as never having married in the first place. However, Minnesota is one of several states that modeled its laws after the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act. This Act recognizes the concept of innocent (or putative) spouses, who are individuals who enter into marriage in good faith that the marriage was legally valid.
These individuals need annulment support from an experienced Minnesota property division lawyer to protect certain potential property rights — and even possible long-term retirement benefits.
Perception Can Be Reality Within Some Marriages
Any couple that obtains a marriage license and says vows generally assumes the marriage to be legal. However, one or both parties may later discover that the marriage is not legally valid for many reasons, such as the following:
- One or both parties might be under the legal age of consent (18 in Minnesota). Without parental permission, the marriage is not valid.
- One party may already be legally married to someone else.
- The marriage might be based on lies or misrepresentations by one or even both parties.
- One party may have coerced the other into marriage through force or threats.
These are just a few examples of circumstances that might invalidate a marriage, but discovery could potentially occur many months after a couple begins a marital life.
Fully Denying a Marriage Can Lead to Financial Hardship
Contrary to common belief, annulment does not always equate to returning to a pre-marital state as if the marriage never happened. Unless they discover the error within a very short time period following the ceremony, couples typically begin acquiring assets and making plans jointly. With each day, the financial situation becomes more complicated.
The length of the presumed marriage, along with many other factors can affect the rights of the putative spouse to pursue rights to marital property. In many cases that are based on the specifics of Minnesota law, they can even pursue certain Social Security benefits.
These are reasons why obtaining an annulment may not be as simple as it would seem. Without support from an experienced MN divorce attorney, putative spouses can leave assets on the table that might be essential to move forward financially after the courts declare the marriage to be null and void.
It is important to seek support from an experienced lawyer who can unravel the maze of laws and protect all rights after an annulment. Call us at (763) 783-5146 or use our convenient contact form.