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Naperville family law attorneysThe concept of having a marriage annulled is one that is shrouded in confusion. Many people do not understand when annulment is a possible, or they assume that anyone can have their marriage annulled. In Illinois, an annulment is called a “Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage.” There are strict rules which dictate when a person can get their marriage invalidated, and only a small percentage of individuals qualify for annulment. Read on to learn about the annulment laws in Illinois as well as what to do if you need to end your marriage.

The Difference Between Annulment and Divorce

When a person gets a divorce, their marriage is ended. However, annulment does not end a marriage, it actually nullifies the marriage entirely. A couple who has had their marriage annulled makes it so that it is if the marriage never happened at all. In the eyes of the law, an annulled marriage never took place.

In some faiths, divorce is frowned upon or disallowed entirely. Because of this, some churches and other religious organizations offer annulments for individuals who do not wish to be married. It is important to note that there is a huge difference between legal annulment and religious annulment. Although a religious annulment can have great personal and cultural significance, getting your marriage annulled through the church does not legally annul the marriage. 

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DuPage County divorce and family law attorneysAnnulment differs significantly from divorce or separation. While a divorce ends a marriage, an annulment cancels the marriage entirely. After a marriage has been annulled, it is as if the marriage never happened. Annulments are only granted for specific reasons in certain situations. Not just any anyone qualifies for an annulment, or as it is called in Illinois, a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage. If you have reason to believe your marriage is invalid and should be annulled, read on to learn more.

Grounds for Annulment in Illinois

A marriage cannot be annulled just because a couple regrets getting married. If a couple wishes to have their marriage declared invalid, they must meet one of several criteria. Firstly, a marriage can be invalidated if a party could not consent to the marriage due to mental illness or incapacitation, or because one or both parties were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A marriage which someone enters into through force, fraud, or duress can also be declared invalid. Furthermore, marriages can be annulled if one of the parties lacks the ability to consummate the marriage and the other party did not know about this incapacity. In Illinois, individuals aged 16-17 years can only get married with consent from a parent or guardian, or via judicial approval. If a party was under 18 at the time the marriage took place and did not have the required approval, the marriage can be annulled.

Prohibited Marriages

Marriages which are not allowed by law are called “prohibited marriages.” Close relatives are prohibited from getting married. This includes both blood-related and adopted siblings as well as other close relatives. First cousins are only allowed to marry in Illinois if both parties are over age 50 and at least one of the parties is infertile.

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Posted on in Annulments

Naperville family law attorneysAn annulment or having a marriage invalidated can be a complicated process to understand. Unlike a divorce, an annulment is only available to married people in certain situations. In order to get a marriage annulled, a couple must prove that the marriage occurred under illegitimate circumstances. Another source of confusion about annulments exists because there are religious annulments and civil annulments. Religious annulments are generally granted by clergy or religious leaders and are not recognized by the state. This article will only discuss civil annulments.

What Does an Annulment Accomplish?

Getting a marriage annulled essentially declares the marriage void. If you are granted an annulment in Illinois, the state will “cancel” your marriage and officially state that the marriage was never valid. Illinois annulments, technically called "judgments of invalidity," are not very common and are only granted if the couple meets certain requirements.

Reasons for a Judgment of Invalidity

An Illinois judge will only grant a judgment of invalidity if one of several grounds exists. A marriage can be annulled if:

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Posted on in Annulments

Naperville family law attorneysAnnulments are a legal option for ending a marriage that many never consider. Annulments happen less frequently than divorces or separations, but they are still useful legal tools in some circumstances. Although an annulment has the same result as a divorce in that it dissolves a marriage, annulments take a different approach. An annulment is a legal process which declares a marriage to be invalid. If a marriage is annulled, it is like it never happened. Not just anyone can file for an annulment and there must be sufficient reasons to justify invalidating a marriage.

Reasons One Can Seek a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage

The state of Illinois refers to an annulment as the “declaration of invalidity of marriage.” When someone files for a declaration of invalidity of marriage, they must report the reason for the request. Section 301 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act list the possible reasons someone can apply for an annulment. Some of these reasons include:

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Naperville family law attorneyThere are different ways to end your marriage, whether it is on a temporary or a permanent basis. Depending on your situation, annulment, legal separation, and divorce are all options that may be available to you, or that you may be interested in pursuing. Only an experienced family law attorney can assist you in evaluating your situation and determining the best course of action in your case.

Annulment

Under an Illinois law, what is commonly referred to as an annulment is called a declaration of invalidity of marriage. This is a court order that makes a marriage invalid. There are four reasons under Illinois law that you can get your marriage annulled:

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