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Legal Separation & Annulment

Never go into a Courtroom Alone!

Legal separation and annulment are uniquely different and possible alternatives to divorce. Each may only be used in specific circumstances dictated by Wisconsin law.  The lawyers of Kaehne, Cottle, Pasquale & Associates, S.C. are experienced in assisting clients in both Legal Separation and Annulment.


If you and your spouses believe the marital relationship is merely broken, meaning counseling or time may result in reconciliation, legal separation may be an option for you.  A legal separation operates nearly identical to a a divorce and the court will still make orders for:

  • Property divisionDivorce-Family Law
  • Maintenance
  • Child support
  • Child custody and placement

While a divorce and legal separation follow the same process, a divorce ends a marriage and a legal separation does not. During a legal separation, you have a court order that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they are living apart.  In addition, while you are legally separated you are not free to marry.

If reconciliation occurs, you can choose to dismiss the judgment of legal separation.  However, if reconciliation does not occur and you believe the marital relationship is “irretrievably broken” you can request that the court convert your legal separation to a divorce.  If converted to a divorce you are free to remarry after 6 months of the action being converted.


Annulment is a determination by the court voiding the marriage as if it never existed. A marriage can be voidable if either you or your spouse were:

  • Already married to someone else at the time of the marriage
  • Too young to be married
  • Close blood relatives (whether or not you knew it)
  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Mentally incompetent
  • Unable to consummate the marriage

This is not a complete list. While the marriage may be voidable in an annulment, you will likely encounter many of the same issues you would in a divorce or legal separation.  The court may still order maintenance (spousal support or alimony) and will divided property, award child support and determine custody or placement arrangements.  It is important to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer if you believe that an annulment may be appropriate in your case.

Helpful Resources:

  1. – additional information on elements and grounds for legal separation.
  2. – additional grounds for a Wisconsin annulment.

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