Tag Archives: annulment

b2ap3_thumbnail_time-limit-annulment-illinois.jpgCommon sense would make you think an annulment—which declares the marriage never existed—would be simpler, but this is not necessarily true. Divorce is by far simpler to obtain since irreconcilable differences can be used as the grounds in most cases. Beginning in 2016, irreconcilable differences will be the only grounds available for any divorce in Illinois.

Are There Time Limits On The Grounds For Annulment In Illinois?

Yes. 750 ILCS 5/302

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bigamy and annulment, Illinois divorce lawyerDo not try this, because if you are the spouse guilty of bigamy (a crime in Illinois), it is a Class 4 felony. Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/11-45) states the following regarding bigamy and marrying a bigamist:

(a) Bigamy. A person commits bigamy when that person has a husband or wife and subsequently knowingly marries another...

(c) Sentence. Bigamy is a Class 4 felony. Marrying a bigamist is a Class A misdemeanor.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_annulment.jpgWhat is an annulment?

An annulment is known as a "declaration of invalidity of marriage" in Illinois law. It is a type of civil Court proceeding. An annulment is begun by a Husband or Wife filing a Petition for Invalidity of Marriage in an Illinois Circuit Court. Based upon sufficient proof of grounds for an annulment, an Illinois Domestic Relations Judge may enter a Judgment of Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage. In effect, a Court Order is entered finding that your marriage was not valid from the very beginning. In making such determination, the Judge finds that, for most purposes of the law, your marriage never legally existed. 750 ILCS 5/301

A divorce, on the other hand, also known the dissolution of marriage, recognizes that the marriage is valid. Upon consideration of proof of one of the divorce grounds allowed under the law, the Court may dissolve the marriage and enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage, commonly referred to as a divorce decree.

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For the majority of couples entering into the bonds of matrimony, the wedding day represents new beginnings with fresh hopes of a loving and successful life-long union. But for some, it may mean the beginning of legally dissolving what appears to have been a serious marital misstep. For those experiencing marital remorse in Illinois, the legal recourse for an annulment or a legal judgement declaring the invalidity of a marriage is fully defined and sanctioned under Section 5, of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS).

The first step in determining legal recourse for a possible annulment is to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Illinois family law attorney, but in the interim, the following summary may provide beneficial insight into the legalities of correcting a marital misstep.

Annulment or No-Fault Divorce?

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Rather than choosing to terminate a marriage with divorce, some couples choose an annulment. Annulment, when granted by a court, essentially invalidates a marriage from day it began. Unlike with a divorce, an annulment means that there was never a marriage at all and the two parties involved were never united as husband and wife.

Discuss annulment in Illinois with your divorce attorneyHere in Illinois, there are four specific cases in which annulment is a viable option for a couple. These grounds for annulment in Illinois are:

  • One party lacks the physical ability to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse, and the other party did not know at the time of the marriage.
  • A party was under the legal age of marriage at the time of the wedding and did not have the consent of parents, guardians, or the court
  • The marriage itself is prohibited (for example, one party was already married at the time of the ceremony).
  • A party lacked capacity to consent to the marriage at the time of the ceremony because of mental incapacity or infirmity or the influence of alcohol or drugs, or was coerced into entering the marriage by force, duress, or fraud.

The time limits for filing for annulment vary depending on the grounds on which you are basing your annulment, but all cases follow the same general pattern of steps.

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