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Posted on in Annulments

Understanding the Advantages and Disadvantages to an AnnulmentWhile divorce is the most common way for married couples to legally separate, couples also have the option to annul their marriage. Annulment dissolves the marriage on the grounds that it is invalid, which can mean the marriage retroactively never existed. In Illinois, there are four categories that qualify for annulment:

  • If the marriage is illegal, such as incest, bigamy or being forced to marry under duress
  • If one party was mentally incapable of consenting to the marriage
  • If one party was unaware that the other party was incapable of having sexual intercourse
  • If one of the parties is younger than 18 and did not receive parental consent to marry

Even if you qualify for annulment, you should consider whether an annulment is your best option. There are advantages and disadvantages to getting an annulment instead of a divorce:


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Posted on in Annulments

annulmentjpgWhen one or both spouses want to end their marriage, they can seek a divorce. Legally, a divorce is a legal declaration that a valid marriage is over. A common misconception is that an annulment is a quicker or easier way to get divorced. In reality, an annulment is a legal order stating a marriage is not valid. In other words, it is a legal order that a legal marriage never actually existed. State law sets out very specific requirements for annulments, which can make it difficult to pursue. However, an annulment may be appropriate in some cases, and could benefit you if applicable.

Requirements for Annulment

Formally known as a declaration of invalidity, a legal order of annulment is rarely granted because of the strict legal limitations. Illinois law states that an annulment can be granted for one of the following reasons:

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Posted on in Annulments

b2ap3_thumbnail_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.

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