Annulment is a legal procedure which “nullifies,” or cancels, a marriage. In the state of Illinois, annulment is called a “declaration of invalidity of marriage”. A marriage which has been successfully annulled is not recognized by the state any longer. Legally, an annulment makes the marriage as if it never happened. This process is much different from a divorce and is only available in certain circumstances.
Who Qualifies for Annulment?
In Illinois, there are only four lawful reasons someone can annul their marriage:
- One spouse did not or could not consent to the marriage. This includes situations where the spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the marriage proceedings. If one of the spouses was mentally incapacitated due to mental illness or disability, the marriage may be annulled. A spouse who was forced to get married will be able to seek annulment as well. Finally, if the marriage is fraudulent, or meant to help evade U.S. immigration laws, it can be annulled.
- One spouse is unable to consummate the marriage through sexual intercourse. In order for this to be a valid reason for annulment, the other spouse must not have known about the inability before the marriage.
- One spouse was not of legal age to get married. The Illinois marriage age requirements are 18 for couples without consent from a parent or guardian and 16 for those with consent.
- The marriage was illegal. This includes instances where a person was already legally married when they married someone else and marriages between closely-related family members.
When is Annulment Appropriate?
Annulment is not necessarily a better choice than divorce, and most marriages will not qualify for annulment. Some people choose to have their marriage declared invalid in order to avoid property division or court-ordered payments such as spousal maintenance which would possibly be ordered during the divorce process.
Individuals seeking annulment must do so within 90 days of the start of the marriage if they are doing so for reasons of incapacitation due to drugs or alcohol, mental impairment, or force/coercion. If a parent wishes to pursue an annulment for their minor child who got married illegally, they have until the child turns 18 to seek an annulment. If the reason for the annulment is due to one spouse’s inability to have sexual intercourse, the time limit is one year. Finally, there is no time limit for annulments due to polygamy, or a spouse being married to more than one person at a time.
An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help
If you wish to have your marriage declared invalid, or annulled, having an annulment and divorce attorney on your side can make the process much easier and more efficient. Contact one of the skilled Wheaton annulment attorneys from the Andrew Cores Family Law Group for a free consultation today.