Annulments are a legal option for ending a marriage that many are confused about. An annulment is unlike a divorce in that it invalidates the marriage. Marriages which are successfully annulled are treated as though they never happened. There are differences between civil annulments and religious annulments. Many people who choose to end their marriage through an annulment do so because their church or religious organization does not allow divorce. However, in order to qualify for a civil annulment, the spouses must meet many requirements which are not required for religious annulments.
Requirements for Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage
In Illinois, annulments are referred to as “declarations of invalidity of marriage.” In order to qualify for a declaration of invalidity of marriage, the spouses must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- One or both spouses were underage at the time of their marriage: Illinois requires couples to be 18 years old in order to marry without parental consent, and 16 years old for those with consent.
- One or both of the spouses were married to multiple people at the same time: Polygamy, or having more than one spouse, is against the law. If someone is already married and manages to marry a second person, that second marriage is invalid and will qualify for an annulment.
- The marriage was conducted under false pretenses: This includes people who get married simply to get United State citizenship.
- A spouse hid information such as previous felony convictions, children from a previous partner, or substance abuse problems.
- One spouse is physically unable to consummate the marriage and did not reveal this information to their spouse before the marriage.
- One of the spouses was not of sound mind when he or she was married or was forced into the marriage. If a person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when her or she was married, or has a mental condition which makes them unable to consent to marriage, the marriage is invalid.
It is important to note that there are certain time limits which apply to annulment. For example, if you wish to seek an annulment because of drug or alcohol impairment during the marriage process, you only have 90 days after the wedding to apply for a declaration of invalidity of marriage.
Family Law Attorneys You Can Trust
The team at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. has the experience and legal knowledge to help those who wish to end their marriage through annulment. We can help you determine if your marriage qualifies for annulment and then work with you to end the marriage. Contact our office today at 630-377-7770 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our dedicated Kane County family law attorneys.