If you are looking to end your marriage, you may qualify for an annulment. Though an annulment is not the same as a divorce, it is another legal way to end a marriage. Technically, an annulment, called a Judgment of Invalidity of Marriage, asserts that a marriage was never valid to begin with. Specific requirements must be met for an annulment to be an option.
What Is an Annulment?
The state of Illinois views an annulment as the invalidity of a supposed marriage. This would mean that the marriage itself would be voided from the date of the marriage. In a divorce, the marriage is dissolved but an annulment invalidates the marriage altogether. There are only a select few circumstances that can qualify a marriage to be annulled:
- If one or both parties were under 18 at the time of the marriage, and therefore, under the legal age of consent, and did not have any consent from a guardian or the courts.
- If the marriage was illegal, such as in the case of bigamy. Illinois does not recognize polygamy and a party cannot enter a second marriage if currently married.
- If one of the parties was mentally unwell or under the influence of substances at the time of the marriage, then they can be declared of unsound mind.
- If one party can prove they were forced into the marriage by the partner.
- If the two parties are found to be closely related through blood or adoption.
- If one of the parties was physically unable to consummate the marriage.
When Can I Get an Annulment?
There is a varied time limit with most of the conditions listed. If, for example, you have found out that your spouse is unable to have sexual intercourse after the marriage, you have one year to annul the marriage. If someone was not of sound mind or was forced into the marriage, the statute of limitations is 90 days. In the case of a minor entering the marriage, the time limit lasts until the minor reaches the legal age of consent. If you learn that your partner is already in a marriage prior to your own, there is no time limit, as your marriage is illegal.