Like most states, Illinois has its own laws and regulations that govern the distinct line between the divorce process and annulments. Despite misconceptions popularized by media and religious institutions, civil annulments simply affirm that a marriage never existed in the eyes of the law. Conversely, divorce marks the end of an existing and valid legal union.
Illinois courts technically don’t offer “annulment of marriage” actions, but you can ask a judge for a “judgment of invalidity.” Legally, there is no difference between these two terms. A judgment of invalidity is a court order stating that your marriage is invalid per Illinois law. However, these are very rarely granted in Illinois except under specific circumstances. If you’re interested in requesting a judgment of invalidity, you must first prove to the court that your situation warrants it.
Grounds for a judgement of invalidity include:
- One spouse lacks the mental capacity to consent to marriage
One spouse was under the influence and unable to consent to marriage
- A petitioner has 90 days to file for a judgment of invalidity for this situation
- One spouse was forced, threatened, blackmailed, or coerced into marriage
The marriage is illegal because it is bigamous
- A spouse, the Illinois State Attorney, or a child of either party can file for a judgement on invalidity within 3 years of the first spouse’s death
One spouse hid the fact that they lack the ability to consummate the marriage
- A petitioner has 1 year to for a judgment of invalidity for this situation
At least one spouse is under the age of 17 and failed to obtain legal or
- A petitioner (the underage spouse or the underage spouse’s parent) must file for a judgement on invalidity before the underage spouse reaches the legal age of marriage
If you’re interested in filing for a judgement of invalidity, it’s important to first discuss your personal situation with a divorce attorney. Even though it’s technically an annulment, there could still be financial and child custody matters that need to be addressed. Your next step is to file a petition with the clerk of the circuit court. Like a divorce, your spouse will be served papers by a process server or sheriff.
Have Questions? Schedule a Consultation
If you have questions or concerns about the divorce process or judgments of invalidity, contact the Illinois divorce lawyers at Wakenight & Associates, P.C. Our experienced legal team can evaluate your situation and help you determine which path is best for your family.
Call Wakenight & Associates, P.C. to schedule your free consultation. We have offices conveniently located across the state of Illinois.