Annulments

Experienced Family Law Attorneys Serving Schaumburg, Illinois and Surrounding Areas

For some couples, getting their marriage annulled instead of obtaining a divorce makes sense. An annulment effectively cancels a marriage--as though it never existed--as opposed to filing for the dissolution of an existing marriage (or a divorce). There are specific circumstances that can give rise to seeking an annulment, such as when one spouse is not mentally capable of entering into the marriage in the first place.

In Illinois, a couple seeking an annulment would technically file for what is known as a “judgment of invalidity,” essentially declaring that the marriage never existed. However, it is very difficult to obtain this judgment, and you will need assistance from an experienced family law attorney.

If you are seeking an annulment, align yourself with a firm that cares about your rights just as much as you do. At Glasgow & Olsson, We know how to examine the unique nature of your situation and provide sound solutions for your situation. Contact us today for a free consultation.

The Law in Illinois

Under the law in Illinois, the court can enter its judgment declaring the invalidity of a marriage under the following circumstances:

  • One party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage at the time it was solemnized due to mental incapacity, infirmity, the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substances, or if the party was forced into the marriage while under duress or the influence of fraud;
  • One party lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage and, at the time the marriage was solemnized, the other party was not aware of this;
  • One party was under the age of 18 and lacked the consent of their parents or guardians (if they were 16 or 17 years old); or
  • The marriage is prohibited (for example, if bigamy has been committed).

Statute of Limitations

Based upon the following circumstances, either party can seek a declaration of invalidity no later than the following deadlines:

  • Lack of capacity to consent to the marriage: 90 days after finding out;
  • Lack of physical capacity to consummate marriage: one year after finding out;
  • Too young to marry/without parental or guardian consent: declaration must be sought prior to reaching the legal age to marry; or
  • Marriage prohibited: can be sought at any time but not to exceed three years following the death of the first party to die.

The court will typically enter into a retroactive judgment (meaning the marriage is invalid as of the date it was entered into) unless it finds, after a consideration of all relevant circumstances, that the interests of justice would be served by, instead, not declaring the judgment to be retroactive (in which case, it would be effective as of the date of the court order).

What About Children?

A child’s legitimacy is not automatically called into question in the state of Illinois simply because a couple files for a judgment of invalidity. Illinois law explicitly states that children born or adopted of a marriage that is later declared to be invalid are still the lawful children of the parties involved.

Annulment Attorneys Serving Schaumburg, Palatine, and Barrington

The elements of divorce are difficult enough; seeking an annulment of marriage can be even more difficult and complicated, particularly if a couple has children together and/or jointly owns any property and assets. If you need assistance obtaining a judgment of invalidity, contact us today so that we can help.