A court has the authority to declare a marriage void after the death of one of the parties to the marriage.
“Wisconsin Stat. ch. 765 sets out the criteria for a valid marriage in this state. Failure to meet one of these criteria will often result in a void marriage. An action under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (the UDJA) is the established mechanism for testing the validity of a marriage in an estate case because the UDJA explicitly provides standing for interested parties in an estate action.”
“The change in the annulment statute in 2005 Wis. Act 443 did not alter the holdings in the Estate of Toutant case. There is no evidence that the legislature sought to curtail a court’s power to address fraud, mistake, and other exigencies in a disputed marriage in order to “declare rights, status, and other legal relations.” Wis. Stat. § 806.04(1). Limiting a court’s power to address these issues would effectively shut off declaratory remedies for parties in an estate action.”
Reversed and Remanded.
2011AP1176 & 2011AP1177 McLeod v. Mudlaff