Dupage County Lawyers
 

Annulments in Illinois

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When marriage goes bad, people often wish they could eliminate all traces of it, and they may consider getting an annulment rather than going through a divorce.  However, most people cannot qualify for an annulment, which is much more difficult to get.

If fact, Illinois does not even have an official court action called annulment of marriage. Instead it has a “judgment of invalidity,” a court order stating that the marriage was never valid, and this is granted only on rare occasions.

The experienced and compassionate Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe and Stec understand that any dissolution of marriage is an emotional event.  Every situation is different, and handling it properly involves careful consideration of individual circumstances.  We know the issues, the system, and the courts and judges, and we take every precaution to ensure that you and your children are protected and wind up receiving the best solution possible. We offer a free consultation to help you find the best solutions for your individual divorce situation.

With office locations in Woodridge and Chicago, we represent clients throughout the entire Chicagoland area.

Call our DuPage County divorce attorneys today at 630-305-0222 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Annulment and Void Marriages in Illinois

While divorce means the end of a valid marriage, annulment means the marriage was never regarded as legally valid in the first place.  Under Illinois law, an annulment is a “declaration of invalidity of marriage,” an order that revokes recognition by the state.  Once an annulment is granted, it is as if the marriage never really existed.

In general, divorces are easier to get, as annulments have stricter requirements and time limits. In order to get an annulment, there need to be specific grounds that exist.  Illinois grounds include:

  1. One spouse did not have the capacity to consent to be married in the first place. Reasons may be because of:
    • Mental disability
    • Influence of drugs or alcohol
    • Force, duress, coercion or fraud
  2. One spouse cannot have sexual intercourse and hid this so the other spouse did not know about the impotency at the time of the marriage.
  3. One spouse was under age 18 at the time of marriage and did not have consent to be married from a parent, guardian, or Illinois judge.
  4. The marriage was illegal.  Reasons may include bigamy (one spouse was still legally married to another living person) or incest (the spouses are closely related by birth or adoption).  Until 2013, when Illinois passed a gay marriage law, same-sex couples were also not legally able to wed.

Time Limits on Annulments

There are time limits for filing for annulment.  The limits depend on specific circumstances, as follows:

  • For marriage that occurred under coercion, the influence of drugs or alcohol or mental impairment – the spouse has 90 days from the time of the described condition to file for an annulment.
  • For marriages of minors under 18 — a parent can request an annulment any time before the minor becomes an adult at 18.
  • If incapable of engaging in sexual intercourse — a spouse has one year to request an annulment after discovering the impotency.
  • For multiple marriages or incest — there is no time limit for annulment.

Effects of Annulment

Annulment of marriage has repercussions that differ from those of divorce, according to the situation.  The main advantage for someone to choose annulment instead of divorce is to avoid court-ordered payments or division of property.

Repercussions include:

  • Parentage — Illinois law says that children born or adopted of an annulled marriage are still legitimate, and these children will have the same rights as the children of legal marriages. Children can get child support from both parents and inherit property at the death of either parent.
  • Retroactivity – For annulments, judges have the discretion to decide whether to make the invalidity of marriage retroactive, which means the marriage was never valid. Judgments usually are retroactive, which means that the court has no authority to decide custody, child support, or to divide the spouses’ property.  As a result, spouses will have to go through separate proceedings under the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 to get a decision on custody, child support, and visitation. After annulment, spouses will have to work out their own property and debt issues.  If the judgment is not retroactive, then it becomes effective as of the date of the court order.
  • Putative Spouse — In situations where someone honestly thought they were entering a valid marriage that turned out to be invalid, that person becomes a “putative spouse.” A putative spouse has the same rights as a legal spouse, including the right to divide property and to be paid maintenance.

Contact Us For Help And a Free Consultation

There are no ready-made solutions in divorce and family law – every case needs to be considered on its own merit.  Whether or not you decide to seek annulment, Illinois laws dissolving marriage can be difficult to interpret, and making a mistake could mean returning to court and nasty and costly drawn-out battles that adversely affect you and your children. Fortunately, there is help available when you have a lawyer on your side. The seasoned Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd.,. handle all cases with sensitivity, respect, and discretion.

At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., we made our reputation one client at a time, and we put every ounce of our ability into each case.  Our lawyers take the time to delve deeply into the problem and to understand your goals and concerns. Then we develop a legal strategy designed to achieve those objectives.

There is no charge for the first consultation. Delaying can only complicate your situation and make matters worse. Call us today for your free consultation at 630-305-0222 or contact our team online.

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