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Annulment: How to End an Invalid Marriage

Posted on in Annulments

annulment.jpgA marriage must meet certain requirements to be valid. These requirements, as well as the circumstances under which a marriage may be determined to be invalid, are outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. For example, if a couple married when one of the parties was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or otherwise unable to consent to the marriage, the marriage may not be considered to be valid. Another reason why a marriage might be deemed to be invalid is if one of the parties was already married to another individual when the wedding ceremony was performed or one of the parties somehow lied about his or her identity, causing the other partner to marry him or her under false pretenses. If a minor married without parental consent, that marriage, too, may be deemed to be invalid. When a couple's marriage is invalid, they may end it through a process known as annulment. Getting an annulment is not the same as getting a divorce. When a couple divorces, their legal, valid marriage is dismantled. When a couple gets an annulment, their marriage is wiped from the record as if it had never occurred.

The Annulment Process

The annulment process differs from the divorce process in a few ways. One of the key differences is that when a couple's marriage is annulled, their property is divided as if they were merely a cohabitating couple. Property that married couples amass during their marriages is considered to be marital property and thus subject to equitable distribution under Illinois divorce law. For couples whose marriages are annulled, each partner takes his or her own property following the annulment.

It is incredibly rare for an individual whose marriage is annulled to seek and successfully receive spousal maintenance.

All child-related issues are handled the same way for parents whose marriages are annulled as they are for divorcing parents. The same factors are used to determine appropriate child support, custody, and visitation arrangements.

Time Limits for Annulments

In many cases, a couple has a limited amount of time following their marriage to have it annulled. If this time limit runs out, a couple's marriage may then become legally valid. The circumstances that render a marriage voidable in Illinois and their time limits are as follows:

  • If either spouse was intoxicated or otherwise mentally unfit to consent to the marriage, the couple has 90 days following this discovery to seek an annulment;
  • If either spouse was under the age of 18 and married without parental consent, the couple has until the minor spouse's eighteenth birthday to annul the marriage;
  • If either spouse can not engage in sexual intercourse, the couple has one year to annul their marriage; and
  • If either spouse was coerced or threatened into marrying the other, the couple has 90 days from this discovery to end the marriage.    

Divorce and Matrimonial Attorneys in Kane County

To learn more about the annulment process and find out if you qualify for an annulment, call Goostree Law Group at 630-584-4800 today to schedule your initial legal consultation with a dedicated Kane County family attorney. We can answer any questions you have about matrimonial and divorce law and provide you with top quality representation for your case.

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