What Are the Grounds for Annulment in Illinois?
When an individual is unhappy with his or her marriage, the obvious solution is for him or her to file for divorce. In some cases, the individual has another option: annulment. An annulment is different from a divorce in that it officially breaks down an invalid marriage, rather than legally dismantling a legitimate one. Annulments are rare in Illinois, but a judge may award one when an individual provides sufficient documentation to show that he or she is in an invalid marriage.
If you are in an invalid marriage, meaning that the marriage is not legally binding for some reason, an annulment is a way to officially recognize that the marriage is invalid and relieve you of any obligations you face related to it. In most cases, each party simply reverts to the lifestyle he or she led before the marriage, complete with his or her separate assets, after an annulment. When necessary, the court may create a property division or spousal maintenance order for a couple annulling their marriage. Any children born into an invalid marriage have the same rights as children born to married and unmarried parents.
Valid Reasons to Annul a Marriage in Illinois
In Illinois, a marriage may be annulled for any of the following reasons:
- One spouse cannot engage in sexual intercourse;
- The couple is closely related to each other;
- One spouse or both spouses were already married to another person when the marriage was performed;
- One or both spouses were underage and did not have parental permission to marry when the marriage was performed;
- At least one spouse was unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incapacity, duress, or being under the influence of drugs when the marriage was performed; and
- One or both spouses entered the marriage fraudulently. An example of a fraudulent marriage is one where a resident alien marries a citizen to avoid deportation.
Certain Grounds Have Time Limits for Annulments
With a few of the grounds listed above, an individual seeking an annulment must do so within a specific time period in order to have the marriage annulled. A few of these time limits include:
- When seeking an annulment due to being underage, the marriage must be annulled by the minor’s 18th birthday;
- To annul a marriage one party could not consent to entering, the time period is 90 days from the start of the marriage; and
- For an annulment due to sexual impotency, the couple has a one-year time frame.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles Divorce Lawyer
If you are not sure whether your marriage qualifies for an annulment, speak with an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer to find out. Even if you are unable to annul your marriage, you can exit the relationship through a divorce or a legal separation if you are truly unhappy with your spouse. Contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. today to set up your initial consultation in our office, during which we can determine your legal options and the best course of action for you to take.