Marriage Annulment in Illinois

RigsPeople may wonder whether there is a difference between a divorce and an annulment. Yes, there is a difference, and that difference may have serious consequences.

In Illinois, a divorce is a legal procedure that results in the termination of the marriage. This means that the judge has determined that there was a valid marriage and that marriage is now over. This also means that the judge will divide the assets that belong to the marital estate equitably between the parties.

Annulments are different. In Illinois, an annulment is known as a declaration of invalidity of the marriage, and it is a legal process that results in a finding that the marriage never existed. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act contains specific conditions before a judge will annul a marriage. If successful, a challenge to the marriage may mean that the assets one party earned during the marriage do not belong to the marital estate. Annulments may also affect inheritance rights after one spouse dies.

Before a judge will issue an order declaring a marriage invalid, those bringing the petition have to show that one of the following four circumstances exist:

  1. A party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage at the time the marriage was solemnized because of mental incapacity, or because of they were under the influence of an intoxicant, or because they were induced into the marriage by force, duress or fraud.
  2. One party is unable to have sexual relations during the marriage, if the other party did not know of said inability before the marriage.
  3. One party was aged 16 or 17 years and did not have parental, guardian or judicial approval.
  4. The marriage is prohibited by law, e.g., one of the persons was already married, the parties are related by blood and, until recently, the people were of the same sex.

Whether a person petitions for an annulment or divorce may have serious consequences. If you have questions, contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney who can answer your questions.

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This entry was posted in Annulment, Chicago divorce attorney, DuPage County divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorney.

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