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Naperville family law attorneysLife is full of unexpected turns of events. Sometimes, an individual gets married but quickly realizes that the marriage was a mistake. If you have found yourself in a situation like this, you may be wondering what your options are for ending the marriage. You may have heard about annulments, but you might not know exactly how a person gets his or her marriage annulled. In Illinois, annulments are only granted under certain circumstances. If you do not qualify to have your marriage annulled, divorce may be your only option for ending your marriage.

Difference Between Annulment and Divorce

While a divorce legally terminates a marriage, an annulment rescinds a marriage. An annulment, called a “Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage” in Illinois, makes it as if the couple was never married. If you receive a judgment of invalidity it is if your marriage never took place in the eyes of the law. Typically, judgments of invalidity are retroactive, meaning the judgment is effective on the marriage date. When a marriage is considered retroactively invalid, the court making the determination of invalidity will not have the authority to divide the spouses’ property or make determinations about child custody or child support. Instead, separate proceedings will need to be initiated to manage such concerns.

Grounds for a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage in Illinois

The term “grounds” is used to describe the reasons that a judge may grant an annulment. The legal grounds for a declaration of marriage in Illinois include:

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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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