Annulment vs. Divorce: What’s the difference in Wisconsin?

wedding ring back in box after legal separationAnnulments and divorces may be related concepts—and may seem to be the synonymous—but in reality, they are two different Wisconsin legal proceedings. Both of these processes end a marriage, though an annulment is different in a very key way. An annulled marriage in essence never happened, while a divorce ends the marriage. There are a few other differences as well, which we have outlined below. To find out which process is right for you, contact a lawyer to find out what applies to your situation.

Annulment

One of the key benefits of an annulment is that there is no waiting period, whereas in Wisconsin there is a four-month waiting period before anything can be heard. To be granted an annulment, the couple must have solid legal standing to ask for an annulment, such as fraud, incapability to consent (impairment, etc.), underage, coercion, bigamy, impotence, incense, etc.

One party can file for an annulment, but they must have resided in Wisconsin for 30 days. After the annulment has been granted, the court decides key matters such as property division, alimony, etc. Children are still considered legitimate even though the marriage legally never happened.

Divorce

A divorce is the ending of a marriage. While a divorce is filed in court just like an annulment, the process can be more complicated if the divorce is decided by the court. There are options for divorce that can expedite the process (faster than a litigated divorce), such as a mediation or collaborative divorce (find out about both divorce alternatives here).

In a divorce, a court can make decisions about property division, alimony, or child custody. In a mediation or collaborative divorce, both parties make these decisions with the assistance of their lawyers. A local lawyer can help you decide what process is right for your marriage; an experienced lawyer can guide both parties, or one party, through the mediation, collaborative divorce, or litigated divorce.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

All Your Questions about Father’s Rights & Child Support Answered

Dad giving his young son piggy back ride as they both laugh with pleasure and enjoyment, low angle against a clear blue summer sky after child support and custodyIt’s almost Father’s Day, the time of year when we honor dads throughout Wisconsin and the nation for their role in supporting their kids as they grow. Unfortunately, if you are a father separated from your child’s mother, your legal standing as a father may not seem as clear, especially when you’re figuring out where you stand on issues like child support and custody/placement.

Do your research about father’s rights in your state.

Don’t assume that the general information you find online about fathers’ rights or child custody applies to you. The rights of fathers can differ from state to state; find out where you stand in Wisconsin by contacting a local lawyer experienced in family law. Often, the first consultation with a lawyer is free; use these tips to make the most of your initial appointment with your lawyer.

Be aware that your child support amount may not be final.

Many fathers don’t know that the amount of child support can be adjusted, but be aware that this request comes with a risk. Requesting an adjustment can increase or decrease the amount of child support you owe in the future. You can ask your lawyer for more information if you are considering making the request.

If a parent decides to move with the child, the move may trigger a change in your custody agreement, including an adjustment to child support, visitation, or physical placement of the child.

Visitation, custody, and placement do not necessarily impact your child support.

This is a key misconception that the amount you see your children (or don’t see your child or children) plays a role in the amount of child support you pay. Child support payments can be used for costs related to sheltering the child (i.e. mortgage, rent, utility bills, etc.) or expenses directly related to the child’s care (i.e. clothing, food, etc.)  Non-cash child support can also be ordered in the form of health insurance. Child support is not always determined by physical placement; the amount and party ordered to pay is decided by the court.

Stopping child support payments can have serious legal consequences.

Always consult your attorney before you stop child support payments, such as if you are concerned about the lack of visitation you are receiving.  Most courts hold you accountable for child support even if you are not seeing the child. Failure to make child support payments can land you in legal hot water and even lead to your arrest; consult your lawyer before you take this drastic step.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.