Pesce Law Group, P.C.


Naperville | Oak Brook | Burr Ridge | Lake Forest | St. Charles

What Is the Difference Between an Annulment, a Legal Separation, and a Divorce?

 Posted on September 27, 2016 in Annulments

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.


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:

  • One spouse could not consent to the marriage due to mental disability, influence of drugs or alcohol, force, duress, or fraud;
  • One spouse is unable to have sexual intercourse, and the other spouse did not know that at the time of the marriage;
  • One spouse was under the age of 18 and did not have consent to marry from a parent, guardian, or court; or
  • The marriage was illegal because one spouse was still married to someone else, or the two spouses are closely related by blood or adoption.

There are strict time limits within which you must seek an annulment, if you are relying on certain reasons for an annulment. For other reasons, however, there is no time limit for seeking an annulment.

Legal Separation

A legal separation does not legally terminate a marriage. Spouses must be physically living apart when they file for a legal separation. However, it does allow spouses to obtain court orders about issues like where a child should live, how much time the child should spend with each parent, the payment of child support, and the payment of spousal support. A legal separation can be helpful when spouses can no longer live together, but they are not sure that they are ready to get divorced. There is nothing to stop spouses from getting divorced later if they choose.


If a spouse is ready to completely end a marriage, he or she can file for divorce. A court will issue an order that terminates the marriage and settles all issues related to any minor children that the parties share, as well as divide all marital property and debts between the parties. In some cases, spouses can agree on how to resolve all of these issues, which is referred to as an uncontested divorce. In other cases, the spouses cannot reach an agreement, so the divorce becomes contested. The court then must look at all of the evidence and make a decision on these issues.

Call a Naperville Family Law Attorney Today

At our law firm, we will focus all of our efforts on helping you through your family law case, whether you decide to pursue a legal separation, a divorce, or an annulment. Illinois family law is complex, no matter what path you choose, and there are many issues involved with each choice. There have been major changes to Illinois family law in recent years, and it is essential that you consult an experienced Naperville family law attorney who can help guide you through whichever legal process you choose toward the goals that you set for yourself and your family. Contact Pesce Law Group, P.C., by calling the office at 630-352-2240 to schedule an appointment right away.


Share this post:
Back to Top