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 C. Brown Jason C. Brown

“I used to handle commercial litigation downtown, but it wasn’t very fulfilling. As Minnesota family law attorneys we have the privilege of helping people during one of the most challenging times they will face. This stuff really matters to our clients – and…

“I used to handle commercial litigation downtown, but it wasn’t very fulfilling. As Minnesota family law attorneys we have the privilege of helping people during one of the most challenging times they will face. This stuff really matters to our clients – and to us. We take pride in helping people move forward with their lives.”

Jason founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. He has received national media attention for his work in the area of divorce and family law.

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A., after clerking for the (now retired) Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. He is an experienced trial lawyer, who handled a wide variety of cases (including civil commitment, criminal defense, probate, personal injury and commercial litigation) early in his career.

Today, Jason’s practice is dedicated exclusively to divorce and family law matters. He 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.

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.

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 obtained his B.S., magna cum laude, from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and his J.D., cum laude, from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. While in law school Jason was a published staff writer and associate editor for the William Mitchell Law Review.

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.

Outside of the office, Jason plays the bass guitar and serves on the Board of Directors at Northgate Church. He and his wife, Cynthia, also an attorney, have two boys.