Under Minnesota Law, there are some marriages that are prohibited and, therefore, automatically void. In other words, you do not need a divorce, annulment, or any other legal proceeding to declare the marriage is ended (because under the law, it never existed).
The following marriages are prohibited under Minnesota Statute § 517.03:
- A marriage when one of the parties is already married to another person.
- A marriage between “an ancestor and a descendant, or between siblings”. Importantly, this includes half-siblings and siblings via adoption.
- A marriage between an uncle or aunt and a niece or nephew, or between first cousins.
All of these marriages are prohibited based on public policy concerns and are void marriages under Minnesota law. It is important to note that this is a different issue than an annulment, where the marriage is valid, but may be nullified under certain circumstances.
Additionally, developmentally disabled persons who are committed to the guardianship of the commissioner of human services may need permission from the commissioner in order to have a valid marriage. However, the commissioner “shall grant consent unless it appears from the commissioner’s investigation that the civil marriage is not in the best interest of the ward or conservatee and the public.” Minn. Stat. § 517.03, Subd. 2.