The difference between an annulment and a divorce often causes confusion for many individuals. Annulments and divorces are distinctly different in the dissolution of a marriage and the legal effects of such dissolution. The terms annulment and divorce are not interchangeable as each has its own requirements and consequences.
Annulments of marriage, also referred to as a declaration of invalidity of marriage, are governed by 705 ILCS 5/301 et seq., which details the very limited circumstances in which a couple can obtain an annulment and provides a strict statute of limitations for seeking an annulment which states that annulments must be sought within 90 days of learning that the marriage is invalid. These stringent rules make obtaining an annulment much more difficult than obtaining a divorce. If the couple fails to adhere to the strict statute of limitations then the couple must seek a divorce.
An annulment renders a faulty, invalid, or illegal marriage null and void – as though the marriage never took place to begin with. However, rendering the marriage invalid does not subsequently render any children of the marriage as illegitimate, nor does an annulment remove a parent’s legal obligation to their children. An annulment only voids the marriage. Similar to a divorce, the court will require the couple to sort out issues such as child custody, child support, division of assets, and spousal support.
Divorce is the standard legal mechanism for the dissolution of a marriage. Divorce, governed by 750 ILCS 5/401, applies to all valid marriages and returns each party to his or her pre-marital single status. The validity of a marriage provides the divorcing couple with certain benefits accrued through the marriage. Issues concerning the division of marital assets and property, child support, child custody, and alimony constitute tangential issues that divorcing couples may dispute over.
The law defines a contested divorce as a divorce in which the couple cannot arrive at an agreement on one or more key issues in order to terminate their marriage. The process of obtaining a contested divorce may be lengthy and drawn out. The law defines an uncontested divorce as a divorce in which the couple agrees about getting divorce or about the terms of the divorce. The process of obtaining an uncontested divorce could be considerably faster than obtaining an annulment.
If you have questions about whether an annulment or a divorce is the best way for you to dissolve your marriage, speak with an experienced divorce attorneys at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group, serving Chicago, Lake Forest, Lisle, and the surrounding areas. We can discuss whether you meet the standards set forth by the law to obtain an annulment. In addition, we can discuss how various legal procedures may impact your particular situation. Please call us at 312-445-8830 to schedule your legal consultation with us.
There are many factors to consider when contemplating divorce, and a pre-divorce planning session can help you begin to plan for a divorce. Please contact the professionals at the Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group by calling (312) 585-6604 or clicking here to schedule a consultation.
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