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How Does Annulment Work in Illinois?

 Posted on September 22, 2015 in Dissolution of Marrage

annulment, Illinois law, Lombard family law attorneysUnder certain circumstance a marriage can be ended by an annulment or, as it is legally called in Illinois, a declaration of the invalidity of a marriage, instead of a divorce. An annulment means that, legally, the marriage never happened. There is no property division or spousal support when an annulment is granted. But, very few circumstances qualify for an annulment.

Annulment Requirements

The law presumes that a marriage is valid in most instances. You can only get an annulment in Illinois to a marriage performed in Illinois. Justifiable reasons for seeking an annulment include:

  • One spouse cannot legally consent to the marriage;
  • One spouse cannot have sexual intercourse and the other spouse did not this before the marriage;
  • One of the spouses is under 18 and failed to get the proper parental permission; and
  • The marriage is illegal.

In order for a marriage to be valid, both parties have to be of sound mind. If one spouse was forced to enter into the marriage by threat of force, or if one of the spouses suffers from a mental impairment, the marriage can be annulled because those spouses did not legally consent to the marriage. Alcohol or drugs can also keep someone from legally consenting to marriage.

A marriage is illegal is one of the spouses has been previously married and that marriage has not ended in a divorce or annulment. It may also be illegal if the spouses are too closely related.

Who Can Seek an Annulment?

A petition must be filed in the county where the marriage took place to seek an annulment. Either spouse may seek an annulment if they qualify. In the case of minor children and adults who suffer from a mental disability that would keep them from consenting, a parent or legal guardian can file the necessary paperwork.

The other spouse can fight the annulment, but they do not have to agree in order for the court to find in your favor. You cannot get an annulment simply because you both later regret the marriage.

Annulment, Divorce, and Bigamy

One of the most common circumstances for seeking an annulment is that one spouse is already married. Being married to two people at the same time is called bigamy. In Illinois, bigamy is a felony. Before seeking an annulment based on your own previous marriage you should consult with a lawyer to fully understand the consequences.

You only have a small window for seeking an annulment in Illinois. Typically you have 90 days after you discover the circumstance that makes you eligible for annulment to file the paperwork. However, depending on the case you may have more or even less time to file.

Annulment and divorce issues are too important to risk mistakes that could be avoided with professional legal advice. Contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney at A. Traub & Associates for assistance with understanding your eligibility and options. We will work with you and help you find the resolution that best meets your needs.


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