Illinois state law defines an annulment as a “declaration of invalidity of marriage.” An annulment is a court order, not a legal process, which declares the marriage invalid for any myriad of reasons. While most people associate annulment with religious ceremonies and dissolutions of marriage, religious reasons aren’t the only for an annulment. According to IllinoisLegalAid.org, there are four reasons in Illinois for seeking an annulment:
- One party was mentally unsound when the marriage occurred. This can be because he or she was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, the marriage was forced, or because one party had a mental disability at the time of marriage.
- One person was under 18 at the time of ceremony and did not have his or her parents’ consent
- One party cannot physically have sex. It’s imperative that the party seeking the annulment did not know this at the time of marriage.
- The marriage is illegal: either party is still married to someone else, the two parties are closely related by blood or adoption, the marriage is between two people of the same sex.
While seeking an annulment may seem like a preferable option to divorce if the marriage in question falls under any of the above categories, it may not always be so. According to IllinoisLegalAid, “the main reason to choose annulment instead of divorce is to avoid court ordered payments.” A divorce could force the couple to divide their property or pay alimony. Yet with the counsel of an experienced divorce attorney, these concerns are less prevalent.
An annulment in Illinois can only be sought within 90 days of the marriage. For this reason, and because in some cases a divorce is the only option to end a bad marriage, if you or someone you know is seeking to end a marriage, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney today.