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CHAPTER 765
MARRIAGE
765.001   Title, intent and construction of chs. 765 to 768.
765.002   Definitions.
765.01   A civil contract.
765.02   Marriageable age; who may contract.
765.03   Who shall not marry; divorced persons.
765.035   Validity of marriages of epileptics.
765.04   Marriage abroad to circumvent the laws.
765.05   Marriage license; by whom issued.
765.08   Application for marriage license.
765.09   Identification of parties; statement of qualifications.
765.11   Objections to marriage.
765.12   Marriage license, when authorized; corrections; contents.
765.13   Form of marriage document.
765.14   Form of marriage document when solemnized by parties.
765.15   Fee to county clerk.
765.16   Marriage contract, how made; officiating person.
765.19   Delivery and filing of marriage document.
765.20   Records and forms.
765.21   Unlawful marriages void; validation.
765.22   Immaterial irregularities as to authority of person officiating.
765.23   Immaterial irregularities otherwise.
765.24   Removal of impediments to subsequent marriage.
765.30   Penalties.
765.31   Action to recover penalties.
765.001 765.001 Title, intent and construction of chs. 765 to 768.
765.001(1)(1) Title. Chapters 765 to 768 may be cited as "The Family Code".
765.001(2) (2)Intent. It is the intent of chs. 765 to 768 to promote the stability and best interests of marriage and the family. It is the intent of the legislature to recognize the valuable contributions of both spouses during the marriage and at termination of the marriage by dissolution or death. Marriage is the institution that is the foundation of the family and of society. Its stability is basic to morality and civilization, and of vital interest to society and the state. The consequences of the marriage contract are more significant to society than those of other contracts, and the public interest must be taken into account always. The seriousness of marriage makes adequate premarital counseling and education for family living highly desirable and courses thereon are urged upon all persons contemplating marriage. The impairment or dissolution of the marriage relation generally results in injury to the public wholly apart from the effect upon the parties immediately concerned. Under the laws of this state, marriage is a legal relationship between 2 equal persons, a husband and wife, who owe to each other mutual responsibility and support. Each spouse has an equal obligation in accordance with his or her ability to contribute money or services or both which are necessary for the adequate support and maintenance of his or her minor children and of the other spouse. No spouse may be presumed primarily liable for support expenses under this subsection.
765.001(3) (3)Construction. Chapters 765 to 768 shall be liberally construed to effect the objectives of sub. (2).
765.001 History History: 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (2); 1979 c. 175 s. 53; Stats. 1979 s. 765.001; 1983 a. 186.
765.001 Annotation A land contract that required a reconveyance to the husband's parents if he became divorced within 10 years was not against public policy. In re Terrill v. Terrill, 98 Wis. 2d 213, 295 N.W.2d 809 (Ct. App. 1980).
765.001 Annotation The family code does not preclude an unmarried cohabitant from asserting contract and property claims against the other cohabitant. Watts v. Watts, 137 Wis. 2d 506, 405 N.W.2d 303 (1987).
765.001 Annotation The obligation of support is imposed under s. 765.001 and is not relieved simply because s. 766.55 (2) (a) may not apply. Sinai Samaritan Medical Center, Inc. v. McCabe, 197 Wis. 2d 709, 541 N.W.2d 190 (Ct. App. 1995), 95-0012.
765.001 Annotation Under the unique circumstances of the case, including prior residence in a common-law marriage state, the marriage of a Hmong couple who were married in a traditional Hmong ceremony that was not certified by the former Laotian government was valid. Xiong v. Xiong, 2002 WI App 110, 255 Wis. 2d 693, 648 N.W.2d 900, 01-0844.
765.001 Annotation A wife's assets could be used to pay for her husband's appointed counsel. United States v. Conn, 645 F. Supp. 44 (E. D. Wis. 1986).
765.001 Annotation Same-Sex Divorce and Wisconsin Courts: Imperfect Harmony? Thorson. 92 MLR 617.
765.002 765.002 Definitions.
765.002(1)(1) Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise "member of the clergy" in this chapter means spiritual adviser of any religion, whether the adviser is termed priest, rabbi, minister of the gospel, pastor, reverend or any other official designation.
765.002(2) (2) In this chapter "church under his or her ministry" includes any congregation, parish or place of worship at which any member of the clergy is located or assigned and also any administrative, missionary, welfare or educational agency, institution or organization affiliated with any religious denomination or society in this state.
765.002(3) (3) In this chapter, "marriage certificate" means that portion of the marriage document designated as such, which includes the marriage license as well as the information concerning the marriage ceremony, signatures resulting from the ceremony and proof of filing.
765.002(4) (4) In this chapter, "marriage document" is that document consisting of the marriage license, the marriage certificate and the confidential information collected for statistical purposes only.
765.002(5) (5) In this chapter, "marriage license" means that portion of the marriage document designated as such, which is authorization for the marriage to take place.
765.002(6) (6) In chs. 765 to 768 "void" means null and void and not voidable.
765.002 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 48; 1979 c. 89, 176, 177; Stats. 1979 s. 765.002; 1981 c. 20; 1991 a. 315.
765.01 765.01 A civil contract. Marriage, so far as its validity at law is concerned, is a civil contract, to which the consent of the parties capable in law of contracting is essential, and which creates the legal status of husband and wife.
765.01 History History: 1979 c. 32 s. 48; Stats. 1979 s. 765.01.
765.02 765.02 Marriageable age; who may contract.
765.02(1) (1) Every person who has attained the age of 18 years may marry if otherwise competent.
765.02(2) (2) If a person is between the age of 16 and 18 years, a marriage license may be issued with the written consent of the person's parents, guardian, custodian under s. 767.225 (1) or 767.41, or parent having the actual care, custody and control of the person. The written consent must be given before the county clerk under oath, or certified in writing and verified by affidavit or affirmation before a notary public or other official authorized to take affidavits. The written consent shall be filed with the county clerk at the time of application for a marriage license. If there is no guardian, parent or custodian or if the custodian is an agency or department, the written consent may be given, after notice to any agency or department appointed as custodian and hearing proper cause shown, by the court having probate jurisdiction.
765.02 History History: 1971 c. 149; 1971 c. 213 s. 5; 1975 c. 39, 94, 200; 1979 c. 32 ss. 48, 92 (4); Stats. 1979 s. 765.02; 1981 c. 20 s. 2200; 1999 a. 85; 2005 a. 443 s. 265.
765.02 Note NOTE: See also Art. XIII, sec. 13, Marriage.
765.03 765.03 Who shall not marry; divorced persons.
765.03(1) (1) No marriage shall be contracted while either of the parties has a husband or wife living, nor between persons who are nearer of kin than 2nd cousins except that marriage may be contracted between first cousins where the female has attained the age of 55 years or where either party, at the time of application for a marriage license, submits an affidavit signed by a physician stating that either party is permanently sterile. Relationship under this section shall be computed by the rule of the civil law, whether the parties to the marriage are of the half or of the whole blood. A marriage may not be contracted if either party has such want of understanding as renders him or her incapable of assenting to marriage.
765.03(2) (2) It is unlawful for any person, who is or has been a party to an action for divorce in any court in this state, or elsewhere, to marry again until 6 months after judgment of divorce is granted, and the marriage of any such person solemnized before the expiration of 6 months from the date of the granting of judgment of divorce shall be void.
765.03 History History: 1971 c. 220; 1977 c. 8, 83, 203; 1979 c. 32 s. 48; Stats. 1979 s. 765.03.
765.03 Annotation A marriage can be declared null and void after the death of a spouse, although a marriage may not be annulled after the death of a party. Ellis v. Estate of Toutant, 2001 WI App 181, 247 Wis. 2d 400, 633 N.W.2d 692, 00-2535.
765.03 Annotation Chapter 765 sets out the criteria for a valid marriage in this state. Failure to meet one of these criteria often results in a void marriage. An action for declaratory judgment under s. 806.04 is the established mechanism for testing the validity of a marriage in an estate case because s. 806.04 explicitly provides standing for interested parties in an estate action. McLeod v. Mudlaff, 2013 WI 76, 350 Wis. 2d 182, 833 N.W.2d 735, 11-1176.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated though 2013 Wis. Act 380 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before June 30, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after July 1, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 7-1-14)