Many people misunderstand how, when, and where annulment can take place. In Illinois, annulments are possible, but they are rare. This is because an annulment formally reverses an invalid marriage. Typical marriages are not eligible for annulment. If someone wants to end a valid marriage, their only option is divorce. This blog will explain the difference between annulment and divorce, when a successful annulment is possible, and what you can do if you need to end a marriage you regret.
Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage
The law limits who can get married. For example, minors are typically not allowed to get married in Illinois. However, a 16- or 17-year-old may get married if he or she has parental consent. There are also limitations regarding marriage between close relatives. These are “prohibited marriages.” If someone is married and it is later revealed that the marriage was prohibited, the marriage may be annulled.
Grounds for annulment in Illinois include:
- The parties are closely related by blood or marriage
- One or both of the parties is already married
- One or both parties lacked capacity to consent to the marriage due to drugs or alcohol
- One or both parties were forced into the marriage or entered into the marriage through coercion or fraud
- One or both parties were underage and did not have parental consent
- One or both parties are physically incapable of consummating the marriage and the other spouse was not aware of this at the time of marriage
Alternative Options for Individuals Who Do Not Qualify for Annulment
Annulment declares that a marriage was never valid to begin with. The marriage is effectively erased. Divorce terminates or ends a valid marriage. Many people who recognize a problem immediately after getting married hope they can quickly annul the marriage. However, annulment is only available in cases involving invalid or prohibited marriages.
If you cannot get your marriage annulled, you have two main options. The first is divorce. If you and your spouse have not been married very long and do not have children together, divorce should be relatively straightforward. You may also decide to get a legal separation. A separation does not end your marriage, but it is a useful option for couples who cannot divorce due to religious or personal reasons. Both options allow you and your spouse to address issues like the division of marital property, child custody, and child support. However, only divorce terminates the marriage.
Contact Our Naperville Family Law Attorney
If you wish to end your marriage, our DuPage County divorce lawyers can help you evaluate all of your options. Our skilled team will guide you through an annulment or divorce, providing the assistance and legal support you need. Call [[phone]] for a free consultation at [[title]].