If you are considering an annulment, you need to consult with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney today. The laws regarding annulment are exacting, and whether or not your situation is eligible is a question for a dedicated divorce attorney with considerable experience handling these highly specific legal matters. Better understanding annulment basics, however, can help. 

How Divorce and Annulment Differ

One of the best ways to get a better handle on what it means to obtain an annulment is by comparing it to divorce. A divorce is the dissolution of a valid marital contract, and it ends a marriage that was legally viable. With an annulment, however, the court finds that the marriage wasn’t valid to begin with. This means that if your marriage is annulled, you will proceed as if you were never married to begin with. If your annulment is not retroactive (going back to the date your marriage was initiated), the court will address all the usual terms of divorce that apply to your situation, including:

  • Parental responsibilities and parenting time (or child custody arrangements)
  • The division of assets
  • Child support 
  • Spousal maintenance (or alimony)

If your annulment is retroactive, which is more common, you’ll need to move forward with a separate proceeding for any of the above that apply. You will not, however, need to worry about the legal legitimacy of your children. In the State of Illinois, your children remain the lawful children of both you and their other parent even if your marriage ends in annulment. 

The Grounds for Annulment

Because an annulment negates the marriage itself, there are only specific grounds for annulment that apply, including:

  • One or both of you was already married or in a registered domestic partnership when you entered into the marriage in question
  • You and your spouse are too closely related by either blood or adoption to marry
  • One or both of you was too young to marry and failed to obtain the approval of a parent, guardian, or judge  
  • One or both of you was impaired by drugs and/or alcohol (or was suffering from a mental incapacity) when you entered into the marriage in question
  • One of you is unable to physically consummate the marriage and kept this fact from the other
  • One of you entered into the marriage as a result of force, fraud, or coercion that affects the core of the relationship (such as seeking marriage for the sole purpose of citizenship) 

These are factors that are legally significant enough to void a marriage, and if one applies to your situation, you may be able to obtain an annulment rather than a divorce. 

An Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorney Can Help

The trusted Illinois divorce attorneys at Delaney Heckman are well equipped to help you find the best path forward – whether it is divorce or annulment – for you (in your unique situation). We’re here to help, so please don’t wait to contact us for more information today.