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 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 -- that is considered bigamy. Similarly, there are certain circumstances under which one or both parties may have the marriage annulled (or treated as if it never happened in the eyes of the law), such as the inability to consummate the marriage.

The basics of Minnesota's annulment and prohibited marriage laws are listed in the chart below. Additional articles and resources can be found in FindLaw's Marriage Law Overview section.

Code Sections 518.01-.02, 517.01, 517.03, 517.05
Grounds for Annulment Lacking capacity to consent (mental, alcohol, drugs, force, fraud); no physical capacity to consummate; underage, unless cohabits freely after attaining age of consent
Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment Lacking capacity to consent: 90 days after obtaining knowledge of condition; Lacking physical capacity: 1 yr. after obtaining knowledge of condition; Underage: Before reaching proper age
Legitimacy of Children -
Prohibited Marriages Previously undissolved marriage; between ancestor and descendant, brother and sister, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, first cousins all family restrictions for half or whole blood, except for those permitted by established custom of aboriginal cultures; bigamous; mentally retarded persons committed to guardianship or conservatorship of human services must have permission to marry

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

Minnesota began recognizing same-sex marriages throughout the state in 2013, after state lawmakers passed a bill removing the ban. This legislation was influenced by a ballot initiative rejected by voters that would have prohibited same-sex marriage through a state constitutional amendment. As a result, Minnesota became one of the first states to legalize gay marriage through statute (as opposed to case law). Finally, in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court found that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. The case, Obergefell v. Hodges, supported the decision of states such as Minnesota and legalized same-sex marriage in states that had not yet done so.

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Minnesota Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws: Related Resources

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Let's face it. Getting married is the fun part. Getting an annulment or realizing you might be in a prohibited marriage is the hard part. If you have questions about Minnesota family laws, your specific case, or just want to research the laws, let an experienced family law attorney assist you. You can start the process with a free case review at no obligation.

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