Divorce and Annulments: When to Use Each

Posted on in Annulments

Kane County divorce attorneysSometimes, marriages do not work out. However, the same dissolution procedure is not always the best for each situation. If you have been married a very short time, you may be able to annul your marriage instead of having it dissolved. Still, it is important to understand when this is appropriate and when you are better off opting for a standard divorce.

Dissolution of Marriage

A divorce is referred to under Illinois law as a dissolution of marriage, and almost any couple can obtain one. Until recently, Illinois offered fault-based grounds for divorce such as bigamy, but the law was amended in 2015 to remove all grounds except for irreconcilable differences—the standard “no-fault” ground for divorce. The law was also changed to eliminate the requirement for a couple to live apart for six months or more before their divorce could be granted.

Kane County divorce lawyerWhen most couples decide to part ways, they get a divorce, but an extremely small subset instead obtain annulments. However, a marriage may only be annulled if it is void or voidable. The two, despite their obvious similarities, are very different categories, and to state that your marriage falls under one when in fact, it is the other, can cause problems down the line.

Void Marriages

In Illinois, an annulment is referred to as a judgment of invalidity and may be granted to those in void or voidable marriages. It is important to understand that they are not granted in the same manner as a divorce might be. Void marriages, under Illinois law, are those where the union was invalid from the beginning. Illinois law recognizes three major situations in which a marriage qualifies as void: bigamy, consanguinity, and incest. Generally, if a relationship goes against public policy or is generally against the law, it will be held to be void. Criminal charges may also result in extreme circumstances, but this is very rare.

What Is a Prohibited Marriage?

Posted on in Annulments

Geneva family law attorneyFor many years in the United States, there was much talk about the idea of marriage and whether the government had the right to decide the types of couples who should and should not be eligible to get married. The context for that discussion primarily concerned the marital rights of same-sex couples, and a resolution was reached about a year ago when a United States Supreme Court decision recognized same-sex marriage throughout the country. Each state, however, still maintains laws that govern who is and who is not eligible to get married, and, in Illinois, a prohibited marriage is grounds for an annulment.

Unlawful Marriages

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) is a collection of statutes that provide marriage and divorce-related guidelines for the state. According to the IMDMA, a marriage is prohibited if:

annulments, Geneva family law attorney, Illinois annulment, clean marital slate, illegal marriage, consummation, petition for annulmentOne of the most effective marketing slogans to ever hit the jackpot recently celebrated more than a decade of enticing vacationers and love struck couples to Sin City. Illinois couples, however, do not need to travel to the desert to tie the knot nor petition for an annulment. Couples can opt to petition for an annulment as stipulated under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5). However, under the terms of the Illinois Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, certain criteria must first be met in order to qualify.

Differing than filing for a divorce, an annulment provides the option to petition the court and request approval to wipe the marital slate clean, thus declaring a marriage as null and void. Annulments can be tricky, however, and contacting a qualified Illinois family law attorney knowledgeable of annulment law in Illinois is essential. However, before your scheduled consultation, these key elements could provide valuable insight to the process.

Critique the Criteria

What is Annulment and Who is Eligible?

Posted on in Annulments

annulment, marriage, relationship, divorce, eligibility for annulment, Illinois divorce lawMany people have heard of the term “annulment” and understand that it somehow similar to getting a divorce, but different in some mysterious way. Under Illinois law, an annulment is referred to as a “declaration of invalidity of marriage”. Unlike a divorce, an annulment does not simply terminate a marriage; an annulment states that a marriage is not valid and completely dissolves it as if it never existed in the first place.

 Before you get excited, thinking an annulment is the answer to all of your problems, it is important to recognize that not everyone is eligible for an annulment. There are four reasons for getting an annulment here in Illinois. According to the Illinois General Assembly, those reasons are:

  1. A party lacked capacity to consent to marriage at the time of the ceremony due to mental incapacity or infirmity or the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other incapacitating substances or was induced to enter into a marriage by force, duress, or fraud involving the essentials of the marriage;
  2. A party lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse and the other party was unaware of the incapacity at the time the marriage was solemnized;
  3. A party was aged 16 or 17 years old at the time of marriage and did not have the consent of his or her parents/guardians or judicial approval; or
  4. The marriage is prohibited.

In order to be eligible for annulment, you must file for the court order within the time frames or “statutes of limitations” for each of the four grounds for annulment:

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