Annulling a Marriage in Illinois

annulment, Arlington Heights family law attorneyThere are many reasons why couples choose to end their marriages. In the state of Illinois, couples have the choice of ending their marriage either through divorce or annulment. Divorces and annulments are similar in terms of making a determination about a couple’s marital status.

However, they differ because while a divorce legally ends a valid and existing marriage, an annulment is the legal process used to end a marriage that was never valid. In Illinois, this is referred to as a “Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage.” This effectively makes it as if both parties were never married in the first place – as far as the government is concerned.

Grounds for a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage

Grounds for annulment may vary in different states and legal jurisdictions. However, Illinois recognizes only a few circumstances as grounds for a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, including:

  • A party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage at the time of the marriage ceremony, either because of mental incapacity, infirmity, or under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other incapacitating substances, or a party was forced into the marriage through fraudulent means;
  • A party lacked the physical ability to consummate the marriage and at the time of the marriage, the other party was unaware of the incapacity;
  • A party was 16 or 17-years-old and did not have the consent of his or her parents or legal guardians, or judicial consent; and
  • The marriage is otherwise “prohibited.”

Important Issues to Consider

In addition to the grounds for annulment, there are several other important issues to take into consideration before filing for a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, such as:

  • Illinois law considers any children born or adopted during a marriage that is declared invalid to be lawful children of both parties.
  • Unless the court finds after considering all relevant circumstances that the interests of justice would be served by making the judgment of annulment not retroactive, it declares the marriage invalid as of the date of the marriage. Therefore, dissolution of marriage (divorce) laws relating to the division of property and maintenance (or alimony) do not apply.

Get in Touch with a Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney

If you need to speak to a legal professional about your divorce or annulment, consult Cosley Law Offices. Contact us today to speak with an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce attorney. Call our office today at 847-253-3100. We offer all clients free initial consultations.



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