Can I Annul My Marriage Instead of Getting Divorced?

People make mistakes and get married for the wrong reasons with some frequency in Chicago. In situations where one or both parties think the marriage was a mistake, especially if it has lasted for only a short time, they might be wondering if they can simply annul the marriage instead of going through the divorce process. In brief, if you are in a legally valid marriage, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does not allow you to annul your marriage. If you want to end the marriage legally, you will need to file for divorce. However, it is important to know that there are options to make the divorce process quicker and easier. Namely, you may be eligible for a joint simplified divorce. Even if you are not eligible, an uncontested divorce can occur relatively quickly. 

Annulment Is Only for an Invalid Marriage

The IMDMA does not actually use the term “annulment,” but rather uses the term “declaration of invalidity of marriage.” This process to end a marriage is only possible for an invalid marriage. The IMDMA defines an invalid marriage as one that occurred under one of the following circumstances: 

  • Party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage at the time of the marriage;
  • Party lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage;
  • Party was 16 or 17 years old at the time of the marriage and did not have parental or guardian consent, or judicial approval; or
  • Marriage is prohibited.

To be clear, even if you think you made a mistake getting married, you cannot simply get an annulment. To be eligible for a declaration of invalidity of marriage, the marriage must be invalid for one of the reasons noted above.

Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in Cook County

If you want to get a divorce over quickly because you believe you made a mistake getting married, you may be eligible for a joint simplified divorce in Cook County. A joint simplified dissolution of marriage can make the process faster and easier for both spouses. To be eligible, the following must be true:

  • You and your spouse agree to all terms, including matters like property division;
  • You and your spouse must file and appear in court together;
  • Either you or your spouse must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days;
  • You must have been married for eight years or less;
  • You cannot have children from the marriage;
  • You and your spouse cannot own real estate;
  • You cannot hold joint retirement benefits with your spouse;
  • Your own retirement benefits must total less than $10,000;
  • You and your spouse cannot individually earn more than $30,000 per year (either of you);
  • You and your spouse cannot collectively earn more than $60,000 per year;
  • You cannot rely on your spouse for support, and vice versa;
  • You and your spouse must waive rights to spousal support; and
  • You and your spouse must agree to divide marital property.

There may be additional requirements that you should discuss with a divorce lawyer. Even if you are ineligible for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage, you still may be able to wrap up the divorce process relatively quickly with an uncontested divorce in which you and your spouse agree to all terms of the divorce.

Contact a Divorce Attorney in Chicago

If you need help dissolving your marriage, an experienced and compassionate divorce attorney in Chicago can assist you. We have years of experience helping clients with a wide variety of divorce matters, and we can speak with you about your case today. Contact Arami Law, Inc. for more information.

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