For a number of years, the was a much debate throughout the country regarding the institution of marriage and the government’s right to determine which couples should and should not be permitted to marry. The main point of contention was the rights of same-sex couples to get married. The issue was essentially put to rest almost two years ago when the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that provided for same-sex marriage rights throughout the nation. While same-sex couples now have the same access to marriage as opposite-sex couples, there are still some limitations in each state regarding who may and may not get married. In Illinois, a marriage between two people who are not legally permitted to marry one another may be annulled.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs marriage, divorce, and related matters in the state. The IMDMA provides that a marriage is considered “prohibited” if:
- Either party is still married, or in a civil union or other similar relationship with someone else;
- The spouses are a descendant and an ancestor by blood or adoption;
- The parties are siblings by blood or adoption, including siblings who share only one parent.
- The parties are an aunt or uncle and a nephew or niece by blood or adoption; or
- The parties are first cousins.
A marriage between first cousins may be permitted if both parties are 50 years old or older. Additionally, first cousins may marry if either party is determined by a doctor to be irreversibly unable to have children.
Resolving Prohibited Marriage Potential Recourse
In most cases, factors that would make a marriage a prohibited marriage are identified in advance. This is usually accomplished when the couple seeks a marriage license, as they must normally show that they are eligible to marry one another. Sometimes, however, a prohibited marriage occurs anyway. In some cases, the parties may not have been aware of their relationship. In other, more concerning situations, one party may have been deceptive regarding his or her background. In either scenario, the marriage may be declared invalid when the truth becomes known. A declaration of the invalidity of a marriage is commonly referred to as an annulment.
Seek Legal Assistance Before Your Marriage
If you are thinking about getting married, the list of necessary considerations is seemingly endless. Fortunately, an experienced St. Charles family law attorney can help you with many of them. Our knowledgeable team will work with you throughout the planning process, ensuring that your marriage begins on solid legal footing. Call 630-377-7770 today and schedule a confidential consultation to learn more about the services we offer.