Tag Archives: annulment in Illinois

Illinois marriage laws, Illinois divorce attorneyAs an ongoing project of the Illinois State Archives and the Illinois Genealogical Society, those interested in researching the civil unions of their ancestors can visit the homepage of the Illinois Secretary of State to view marriage records as far back as 1763. Although it appears that the concept of marriage has always been alive and well throughout the ages, it does leave one wondering how many of these marriages either dissolved in some form of divorce or lasted a lifetime until death do they part? The latter is most likely the correct assumption.

In the 1700’s and even more so in the earlier days of man, women feared what could happen if they dared to escape their marital bonds as the cost was high. During this time, the wife, as well as all children, were considered the inherent property of the husband and if scorned, the women could be left desolate. Often the wife’s family would also distance themselves from her plight as they would side with the husband’s side of the family either to safeguard relationships with grandchildren or they were financially beholden to the husband. The vast majority of these wandering women were lost to prostitution, starvation, or death by their own hand.

These dire circumstances could be avoided and a divorce or annulment granted if it could be proven to the courts that either the husband or wife committed adultery or if the marriage was not consummated.

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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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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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