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Minnesota Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

Getting married, or not getting married, is a very personal decision based on a number of considerations. But since marriage is a legal contract between partners that is granted by the state, not all types of marriages are approved.

In Minnesota and all other states, for instance, you may not marry someone if you have a previous marriage that has not been dissolved. This is called bigamy. Similarly, there are certain circumstances under which one or both parties may have the marriage civilly annulled. After a civil annulment, a marriage is treated as if it never happened in the eyes of the law. An example of a reason someone might qualify for a civil annulment is an inability to consummate the marriage.

Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages in Minnesota

The basics of Minnesota's laws related to civil annulments and prohibited marriages are listed in the chart below. Additional articles and resources can be found in FindLaw's Marriage Law Overview section.

Prohibited Marriages
  • Under 517.03, the bigamous marriages and incestuous marriages are prohibited.
  • Under 517.01, a marriage is considered valid if both of the parties consent to it, are able to consent to it by age and other qualifiers, and if it is executed according to legally-specified procedures, including in the press of two witnesses and in good faith. If any of these factors are absent from a marriage, the marriage is invalid. A person is considered unable to consent to a marriage if they are underage or if they suffer from a physical or mental condition that interferes with or makes impossible the ability to consent.
  • Under 517.05, only ministers authorized to marry people may legitimately bond people in marital union.
  • Under relevant state laws, marriages entered into by force or by fraud are also prohibited.
Grounds for Annulment
  • Under 518.01-.02, a person may dissolve a marriage if the marriage was entered into as a consequence of force or fraud or if a spouse has been absent for four or more consecutive years.
  • For other reasons why someone can pursue a civil annulment, review the list of "Prohibited Marriages" immediately above.
Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment Under 518.05, a person must begin pursuing a civil annulment in the following ways:
  • If a person lacks the capacity to consent to a marriage, the timeframe is 90 days after the condition causing the lack of capacity is discovered.
  • If a person lacks the physical capacity to engage in a marriage, the timeframe is one year after the knowledge of the condition has been discovered.
Legitimacy of Children Under common law, children that are born to legally invalid marriages and marriages that are civilly annulled are considered invalid.

Note: State laws are constantly changing. While we make every effort to keep these pages up-to-date, you may also want to contact a Minnesota family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Same-Sex Marriage in Minnesota

In 2013, Minnesota legalized same-sex marriages. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court also found that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court did so with its decision in a case called Obergefell v. Hodges.

Research the Law

Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws in Minnesota, including those related to prohibited marriages and civil annulments:

  • At Minnesota Law, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those related to prohibited marriages and civil annulments.
  • At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages: Related Resources

Consider reviewing the following resources, as well, for more information about laws related to civil annulments and marriage:

Next Steps: Get in Touch with a Family Law Attorney in Minnesota

Getting a civil annulment or realizing you might be in a prohibited marriage can be difficult, legally and personally. If you have questions about Minnesota civil annulments and prohibited marriages or just want to learn more about these laws or other laws relating to marriage, you should contact a family law attorney near you.

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