Annulment vs Separation And Divorce

In Illinois, an annulment is officially referred to as a “Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage.” The court makes it as if the parties were never married. This can be important for a variety of reasons: religious, moral and civil.

There are only a few situations that warrant a Declaration of Invalidity and they each have a fairly short time limit after the marriage ceremony within which a case must be filed. If you or your spouse let the deadline pass, you give up your right to a Declaration of Invalidity and you’ll have to stay married or seek a legal separation or a divorce. Call our Dupage County office in Naperville if you are in need of a consult.

Grounds For Declaring A Marriage Invalid

If you’re thinking about an annulment, you may need to start thinking about a divorce. The grounds declaring a marriage invalid specified under Illinois law (and the time limits by which a case must be filed) are:

Coercion or duress (the classic “shotgun wedding”). — Within 90 days of learning of the condition

Mental incapacity (either due to mental deficiencies or the influence of alcohol or drugs). — Within 90 days of learning of the condition

Fraud. Under Illinois’ annulment law, the term “fraud” refers to a fraud involving “the essentials of the marriage.” — Within 90 days of learning of the condition

Physical incapacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse (and the condition must have existed at the time of the marriage the other spouse must not have been aware of this condition). — Within one year of learning of the condition

One party was 16 or 17 and did not have parental (or a guardian’s) consent or judicial approval. — Prior to the minor’s 18th birthday

The marriage is otherwise prohibited (parents marrying children, aunts marrying nephews, same-sex marriages, etc.) — At any time or, by a child of either party within 3 years of the death of the first party to die.

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