Divorce may be the most common approach for ending a marriage in Minnesota, but it’s by no means the only available option. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for an annulment. First, however, it’s critical to understand the differences between annulment and divorce.

Validity of the Marriage

Both annulment and divorce have the same effect of bringing marriage to a close, but the impetus for the dissolution can vary dramatically.

With annulment, the marriage ends because it was never valid in the first place. For example, a spouse who lacked mental capacity at the time of the marriage could not legally consent, so the union cannot exist. Other issues preventing valid consent include:

  • Intoxication at the time of the ceremony.
  • Marrying due to force or fraud.
  • Marrying while under Minnesota’s legal age — typically 18, but 16 with the consent of a parent.
  • Inability to consummate the marriage, assuming the other person was unaware at the time of the ceremony.

Clearly, the grounds for annulment are limited in the state of Minnesota. Divorce, however, can occur for a variety of reasons. The average divorce simply involves an irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.

Statutes of Limitation

Another key difference between annulments and divorces in Minnesota? Deadlines for filing. Residency requirements may apply for divorce, but with annulment, a lot depends on the reasons behind the marriage’s end. With consummation-based annulments, for example, a petition must be filed within one year of the spouse discovering the problem. For cases involving mental incapacity or intoxication, the deadline arrives a mere ninety days after the issue is brought to light. For this reason, annulment requires prompt legal action.

Whether you are currently seeking an annulment or a divorce, you can count on the team at the Brown Law Offices for help. With our guidance, you can feel confident in your ability to resolve your current legal concerns and enjoy a fresh start.

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Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper