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Geneva family law attorney for annulmentThere are millions of married couples in Illinois and throughout the United States. However, not all marriages last. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. Many people may equate a divorce with an annulment or even a legal separation, but they are not the same thing. In a divorce, a couple will seek to dissolve a valid marriage. In an annulment, the marriage is ruled as invalid, as if it never happened. Some people assume that an annulment is easier to obtain than a divorce, but that is not always true. Annulments can have stricter requirements and time limits when compared to a divorce. If you are considering ending your marriage, it is essential that you hire professional legal counsel to fully understand your legal options.    

Declaration of Invalidity 

It is important to note that an annulment is not the same thing as a divorce or legal separation. When married couples legally separate, they live apart but are still technically married in the eyes of the law. An annulment is a way for two people who are in a fraudulent or invalid marriage to legally leave the marriage by essentially voiding it. A marriage can be deemed invalid for various reasons, including if one party was unable to consent to the union due to:

  • Mental illness
  • Substance abuse
  • Coercion
  • Incest
  • Bigamy
  • Inability to consummate the marriage
  • Being underage at the time of the wedding

A marriage can only be annulled if the court issues a Declaration of Invalidity. An invalid marriage represents an illegal relationship and is therefore not recognized by the state. 

Posted on in Annulments

There are two general ways to end a marriage. The first way is to simply have the marriage annulled. This deems the marriage null and void as if it has never existed. The other way to dissolve the union is to file for divorce. There are differences between the two processes. Here are a few of those differences.


An annulment usually needs to take place within the first 90 days of the date of marriage. Reasons for an annulment can vary but are usually issues like the marriage being a mistake. One cliché example of a marriage by mistake is waking up married after a drunken night in Vegas. Another reason for an annulment is if you are planning to remarry under the laws of the Catholic Church. There are no settlements and awards given in an annulment. The couple walks away as if the marriage never took place. The annulment can usually be completed within weeks.

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