Marriage annulment, also known as a Declaration of Invalidity in Illinois, is a legal process that allows two partners to dissolve a fraudulent or invalid marriage. Unlike a legal separation, an annulment declares that the marriage was never valid from the beginning. While divorce falls under Illinois divorce laws, annulments are governed by specific legal requirements unique to annulment cases.
Difference Between Annulment vs. Divorce
Marriage annulment is often misconstrued as a quick solution for impulsive Las Vegas weddings. However, annulments are more intricate and have stricter requirements and time limitations compared to divorces, which are more common. People may choose annulment over divorce to avoid court-ordered payments, such as dividing assets or paying spousal support.
When it comes to dissolving marriages in Illinois, it is important to understand the fundamental difference between divorce and annulment. While divorce terminates a valid marriage, an annulment declares the marriage invalid from the beginning, essentially erasing it. Furthermore, the grounds for filing vary between the two. In Illinois, there are 11 grounds for divorce, including adultery, substance abuse, felony conviction, and sexually transmitted diseases. On the other hand, annulments are based on specific grounds:
- Marriage involving underage spouses
- Marriage affected by intoxication
- Inability to consummate the marriage
Annulment cases in Illinois focus on marriages that violate the law or public policy. If a judge determines a marriage is invalid, they issue a Judgment of Invalidity. The timeframe within which one can seek an annulment in Illinois depends on the specific grounds for the annulment. It is important to note that different reasons for annulment may have varying time limitations imposed by the law.
Valid Grounds for an Annulment in Illinois
The valid grounds for an annulment in Illinois are as follows:
- Lack of consent – One spouse couldn’t consent to the marriage due to mental disability, duress, or intoxication at the time of the marriage (within 90 days).
- Inability to consummate the marriage – One spouse is unable to engage in sexual intercourse, and the other spouse was unaware of this fact at the time of marriage (within 365 days of discovering the incapacity).
- Underage marriage – One spouse was under 18 and lacked parental consent at the time of marriage (up until the underage spouse turns 18).
- Illegal marriage – Marriage is illegal due to close family relations between the couple (no time limit).
Marriage Annulment Process in Illinois
To initiate an annulment process in Illinois, you must file a Petition for Annulment with the circuit court in the county where you or your spouse currently resides. This petition serves as the formal request to the court to grant an annulment and should include all relevant information and details pertaining to the marriage in question.
This petition, which does not have a standardized state form, should explain why the marriage should be declared invalid. Your spouse will be served with the petition and can either agree or contest it. A judge will review the petition and determine if grounds for annulment exist. If the judgment of invalidity is granted, the marriage will be considered null and void.
Contact a Hinsdale Family Law Attorney
The Hinsdale family law attorneys at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can guide you through the annulment process. We can guide you about your rights, help you gather the necessary evidence, and advocate for your interests.
For a consultation and personalized legal guidance, dial 630-920-8855 to schedule an appointment with the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio.