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Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerAlthough we generally think of divorce as the main way to end a marriage, there is technically another means of “undoing” a marriage in Illinois. Annulment is a legal process through which an individual’s invalid marriage is canceled. Unlike a divorce, an annulment makes it as if a person was never married. In Illinois, annulment is referred to as a Declaration of Invalidity. Not just anyone is eligible for a Declaration of Invalidity. You must meet certain criteria in order to have your marriage annulled in Illinois.

Why Do People Get Their Marriages Annulled?

There are a wide variety of reasons that a person may wish to get their marriage annulled. A person may decide to get married on a whim and then later realize that getting married was a mistake. Sometimes, spouses seek an annulment because they learn information about their partner which makes their marriage unreasonable or legally unenforceable. Other times, a person seeks an annulment because they could not legally consent to the marriage in the first place. Many people also seek annulments for religious reasons. However, it is important to note that an annulment through a church or other religious institution is not the same as a legal annulment through the courts.

Grounds for Annulment in Illinois

You must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for an annulment in Illinois. You may be able to have your marriage annulled if:

  • The marriage is prohibited by law because you and your spouse are close relatives.
  • The marriage is bigamous because one of the spouses is still legally married to another person.
  • You or your spouse cannot physically engage in sexual intercourse and the other spouse was unaware of this inability at the time of the marriage.
  • You or your spouse were under age 16 when you got married or were aged 16 or 17 and did not have the required parental permission to marry.
  • You or your spouse were unable to consent to the marriage because you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol or were otherwise incapacitated at the time of the marriage.
  • The marriage was entered into through fraud. For example, someone who gets married for the sole purpose of avoiding deportation is in a fraudulent marriage.
  • You or your spouse entered into the marriage through force or coercion.

There are certain statutes of limitations that restrict when a person can get an annulment in Illinois. If you are seeking an annulment due to mental incapacity, fraud, duress, force, or intoxication, you must file a petition for annulment within 90 days of learning of the issue. If the marriage is invalid because the spouses are underage, the spouses have until they are 18 years old to seek an annulment.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

If you want to learn more about declaring your marriage invalid, contact a qualified Kane County divorce lawyer from Shaw Family Law, P.C. today. We can help you determine whether or not your marriage qualifies for annulment and explore all of your legal options for ending your marriage. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling us at 630-584-5550.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen a couple realizes their marriage is coming to an end, many spouses decide to separate for a period of time before filing for divorce. This has become a social norm and many couples do not even think about getting their marriage annulled. Not only does an annulment mark the end of a marriage, but it also states that the legal union never existed. Annulments are most commonly sought out for religious reasons. For instance, the Catholic church views divorce in a negative light thus requiring its members to obtain an annulment before they are allowed to remarry in the “eyes of the church”. Annulments may be most common for spiritual individuals; however, some decide an annulment is best based on the benefits it provides each former spouse. Continue reading to learn about the details and benefits of annulments.

Eligibility for an Annulment

A couple must meet the following requirements to qualify for an annulment:

  • The marriage was forced on one or both of the spouses.
  • One or both of the spouses were unable to make a clear decision because of the consumption of alcohol, drug use, or mental disability.
  • One or both of the spouses were already married at the time of the wedding or the relationship was incestuous.
  • The spouse(s) was underage at the time of the marriage.
  • Either spouse was impotent at the time of the marriage.
  • Information was withheld from either spouse such as children from a previous marriage, an unwillingness to have children, legal/criminal problems.

Benefits of an Annulment

There are various benefits of an annulment that extend past religious acceptance.

  • Avoiding financial support: One of the typical requirements of a divorce is one spouse providing the other with financial support. This is often unavoidable, especially when one spouse works and the other does not. These payments can include child support, alimony, or spousal support. Those who decide to have their marriage annulled will no longer be required to help their former spouse financially since the marriage no longer exists in the eyes of the court.
  • Debt is determined and divided: Most couples will accumulate some form of debt throughout their marriage. In the case of an annulment, this debt is divided equally between both parties. Any debt that was incurred before the marriage is given back to the spouse that accumulated it.
  • Assets assignments: Property assets are typically split in half during divorce proceedings, but annulments are different. The property is given back to the party who originally purchased it.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney for Help

Whether a couple is filing for an annulment for religious reasons or for personal reasons, it is crucial that you seek out an attorney who is experienced in this particular area of family law. Divorce and annulments are two very different legal processes that should be dealt with as such. If you would like to get your marriage annulled, contact our St. Charles, Illinois family law attorneys at 630-584-5550 for assistance.

 

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 IL divorce lawyerWhen 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

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