Guide to Annulment of Marriage in Illinois
Not all couples who end their marriages do so with divorce. annulment of marriage in IL is another possible option for couples who need to end their marriage. Unlike a divorce, which recognizes the validity of a marriage but ends it, annulment of marriage in Illinois retroactively voids the marriage. If you intend to seek an annulment of marriage in IL, this guide can explain your options for grounds and how annulment differs from the divorce process.
What Are Grounds for Annulment?
Every state has its own reasons, or grounds, that are considered permissible reasons for an annulment. Annulment of marriage in Illinois requires that one of three things has happened:
ñ One party physically is incapable of consummating the marriage with sexual intercourse, and the other spouse did not know this at the time when they were married.
ñ One party was 16 or 17 years old at the time of the wedding ceremony, but did not obtain the necessary parental permission to get married as a minor.
ñ One party was unable to consent for a reason related to mental illness (Alzheimer's patients and those suffering from psychosis, for instance, may have lacked the capacity to consent), or could not consent because they were under duress. Consent may also be found to be lacking if one party deliberately defrauded the other about something important to the marriage prior to the ceremony taking place.
If you cannot prove one of these grounds in court, you will not be granted an annulment of marriage in IL. Instead of seeking an annulment of marriage in Illinois, couples who cannot prove any annulment grounds must obtain a divorce.
Who Can Have a Marriage Annulled?
Anyone who qualifies as an Illinois resident for the purposes of filing for divorce can also obtain an annulment of marriage in IL for their own marriage if they can prove one of the above grounds. If a minor has been married without parental consent, the minor's parents may also seek an annulment of marriage in Illinois until the minor's 18th birthday.
How is Annulment Different From Divorce?
In many ways, annulment of marriage in IL is very similar or identical to divorce. You can expect to see the same kinds of property division, child and spousal support arrangements, and court proceedings in an annulment case as in a divorce case. Annulment of marriage in Illinois does not make children illegitimate, nor does it free a spouse from an obligation to support his or her children or former spouse.
In many cases, it may be much easier to obtain a no-fault divorce than an annulment of marriage in IL. You may want to talk to a lawyer who specializes in annulments and divorces in order to understand your options. You may want to go through the no-fault divorce procedure, which can be substantially quicker and cheaper than proving grounds for an annulment of marriage in Illinois courts. In most ways, divorce and annulment are functionally identical, and the difference is largely one of name only.