Couples in Cook County who no longer want to be married sometimes want to know whether they should seek a divorce or an annulment. People often think that an annulment is preferable to a divorce for different reasons; sometimes those reasons are based on the person’s religion, but a preference for an annulment can also arise from concerns about the social stigma of divorce. Can a person choose whether to get an annulment or a divorce?
In short, anyone who is eligible for an annulment is not eligible for a divorce, and vice versa. To be clear, a marriage can only be annulled when it is invalid in the first place. Anyone in a legally valid marriage who wants to end the marriage will need to file for divorce, which is known under Illinois law as a “proceeding for the dissolution of marriage.”
The grounds for “declaration of invalidity” of marriage, which used to be known as annulment under Illinois law, make it different from divorce. As we said above, annulling a marriage is not the same as getting a divorce, and couples simply do not have the option of choosing between an annulment or a divorce. Rather, an annulment is only possible when the marriage was invalid in the first place. According to the statute, an annulment is appropriate under one of the following statutory conditions:
There are many different types of situations that may allow for an annulment, including but not limited to the following:
The party seeking the annulment must prove grounds for a declaration of invalidity of marriage.
Unlike an annulment or declaration of invalidity of marriage, there are no “grounds” that need to be proven for divorce. Moreover, divorce or dissolution of marriage is not a way to dissolve an invalid marriage but rather a way of dissolving a legal relationship.
Since Illinois is what is known as a “no-fault” state in terms of divorce, the party seeking a divorce does not need to prove grounds. Instead, the court only needs to find that the couple’s irreconcilable differences make the marriage impossible to continue. The court presumes that this requirement has been met when a lawfully married couple lives separate and apart for six months or more.
If you have questions about dissolving your marriage, you should discuss your case with a Chicago divorce lawyer today. Contact the Arami Law Office for more information.
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