Is an Annulment Easier or Cheaper than a Divorce?

Typically no. Unless there is a personal reason (i.e. for religious purposes), the parties may as well pursue a divorce rather than an annulment. To get a marriage annulled, the marriage must be voidable. Minnesota Statutes §§518.02 through 518.05 control annulments in Minnesota. A marriage may be annulled if:

1)      One party was not able to give their voluntary consent to the marriage at the time of the marriage ceremony because:

  • One party has a mental illness, insanity, mental incapacity and the other party did not know about it at the time of the marriage ceremony; or
  • One party was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other “incapacitating” substance at the time of the marriage ceremony; or
  • Consent was obtained by force or fraud.

2)      One party is not able to “consummate” the marriage with sexual intercourse and the other party did not know this at the time of the marriage ceremony.

3)      One of the parties was under the legal age for marriage. In Minnesota, the legal age for marriage is 18, or ages 16-17 with the consent of the parents, a guardian, or the court and approval of the application for a marriage license by a Juvenile Court Judge.

So why is a divorce easier? Clients can spend a lot in attorneys’ fees trying to prove to the Court that at least one of the above-listed factors exists. If the party fails to prove that one of these factors exists, then the parties’ marriage will not be annulled. The only way to end the marriage is through a divorce.

Additionally, there are strict requirements for the timing of bringing an annulment action. An annulment may be sought by any of the following persons and must be commenced within the times specified, but in no event may an annulment be sought after the death of either party to the marriage:

  • for a reason set forth in factor 1 listed above, by either party or by the legal representative of the party who lacked capacity to consent, no later than 90 days after the petitioner (person seeking annulment) obtained knowledge of the described condition;
  • for the reason set forth in factor 2 listed above, by either party no later than one year after the petitioner (person seeking annulment) obtained knowledge of the described condition;
  • for the reason set forth in factor 3 listed above, by the underage party, the party’s parent or guardian, before the time the underaged party reaches the age at which the party could have married without satisfying the omitted requirement.

See Minnesota Statute §518.05 for more information.

The following two tabs change content below.
 Is an Annulment Easier or Cheaper than a Divorce?
Katie is a partner at Heimerl & Lammers, and heads the family law group at the firm. She represents clients in all areas of family law, from divorce mediations, to child custody disputes. Katie received her law degree from Hamline University. Katie lives in south Minneapolis with her husband and son. In her free time, she loves to cook and travel.
 Is an Annulment Easier or Cheaper than a Divorce?

Latest posts by Katie Lammers (see all)