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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 law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. for help. With our guidance, you can feel confident in your ability to resolve your current legal concerns and enjoy a fresh start.