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Obtaining an Annulment in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

annulment in IllinoisThere is more than one way to end a marriage in the state of Illinois. Although the legal process of divorce may be the most common form of dissolving a marriage, some couples who wish to end their marriage may also be able to obtain an annulment. An annulment also involves a legal proceeding, but differs from divorce in that a party seeking an annulment is attempting to have their marriage declared invalid. Unlike divorce, if an annulment is granted, it erases the marriage and it is as if it never happened in the eyes of the law.

Grounds for an Annulment

According to the applicable law in the state of Illinois, the reasons one can file for an annulment of a marriage are limited. The following are considered recognized grounds for an annulment in the state:

  • Lack of Capacity. This refers to at least one party lacking the capacity to enter into marriage at the time of the marriage ceremony. The incapacity can refer to a mental incapacity, such as intellectual disability, being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if the party was induced into the marriage due to force, fraud, or duress.

  • The Marriage was Never Consummated.  The law requires both that one spouse be physically unable to consummate the marriage through intercourse,  and that the other spouse did not know of that issue at the time the marriage was entered into.

  • Lack of Parental Consent. At least one of the parties was under the applicable age of consent and did not have the permission of a parent or guardian to enter into the marriage.

  • The Marriage was Otherwise Prohibited. This can be due to factors such as bigamy, when one party was already married at the time of the marriage ceremony, or to incest.

It is important to note that there are applicable time limits to filing for an annulment on each of the grounds listed above, which usually corresponds to when the party seeking the annulment learned of the grounds, and not when the marriage ceremony took place. Upon learning of a lack of capacity, a petitioning party must ask for an annulment no later than 90 days after gaining knowledge of such grounds. A petition for annulment based on inability to consummate the marriage must be filed within one year of obtaining such knowledge. An underage party or his or her parent or guardian must file a petition for annulment prior to the party reaching the age of consent. In cases involving a prohibited marriage, the action may be brought at any time, except in cases where more than three years have passed since the death of the first spouse to die.

Family Law Attorney If you are considering ending your marriage and have questions about the legal process of annulment in Illinois or any other family law matter, the experienced Wheaton family law attorneys at the Davi Law Group, LLC can assist you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We have successful experience representing clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, Kendall and Cook County.
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