There is a common misconception floating around that an annulment is simply a “quickie” divorce option that exists for couples who decide to split up shortly after their wedding. However, this is not true. Legally speaking there is a big difference between a divorce and an annulment. While both a divorce and an annulment is a legal procedure that dissolves a marriage, when a couple gets an annulment their marriage, in the eyes of the law, never legally existed because it was technically never valid in the first place. On the other hand, when a couple gets divorced they are legally dissolving a valid marriage. As Illinois is a “no fault” divorce jurisdiction, essentially any married couple living in the state can obtain a divorce if they are willing to jump through a few hoops, however, there are very limited circumstances under which an Illinois court will declare a marriage invalid and issue an annulment.
Grounds for Obtaining a Divorce in Illinois Have Been Abolished
As of January 1st, 2016, the state of Illinois eliminated the need to show grounds in order to pursue a divorce. To be sure, while before that date, divorcing couples were required to show a certain reason for requesting a divorce, such as bigamy, drug addition, or other actions, now a spouse may simply file for divorce by asserting irreconcilable differences exist in the relationship. In addition, while previously couples needed to live separate and apart for two years prior to initiating a divorce, that requirement has been abolished, as well. Instead, if the couples agree to a divorce, they can file immediately; however, even for those that don’t agree, only a six-month period of living separately is necessary in order to demonstrate the existence of irreconcilable differences.
Grounds for Obtaining an Annulment in Illinois
While the grounds on which an annulment can be obtained differ a bit from state-to-state, under 750 ILCS 5/301 an annulment can only be obtained in Illinois if at the time of the marriage:
- A spouse lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage either because of mental incapacity, infirmity, the influence of alcohol or drugs, or he/she was induced to enter into the marriage by force, duress, or fraud,
- A spouse lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse and the other spouse did not previously know of the incapacity,
- A spouse was a minor who did not have the requisite consent to marry, or
- The marriage was prohibited.
Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney Today
Here at the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC we understand how difficult dissolving a marriage can be. That’s why our team of experienced Illinois divorce attorneys is committed to helping clients who seek a divorce or an annulment resolve their legal issues as swiftly and painlessly as possible. If you are interested in obtaining a divorce or an annulment in Illinois and would like to discuss your legal options during a free consultation contact our Rolling Meadows office today at (847) 255-9925.