Annulment vs. Divorce in Illinois: What You Need to Know

Regardless of why you choose to end your marriage, there are several ways how to do so. Annulment and divorce are two separate options to do so legally, however both function in different ways.

In this article, we’ll explore the various similarities, and differences, between both an annulment and divorce and other legal options you have at the time of separation.

What is an Annulment?

An annulment is a court procedure that ends your marriage, much like divorce does. However, an annulment treats the marriage as if it never happened whereas a divorce recognizes that the marriage was legitimate.

Many individuals who pursue an annulment do so because being divorced carries a certain stigma. Others do so for religious reasons. In any case, the legal form of an annulment is called a civil annulment.

There are four possible grounds for civil annulment in Illinois, including:

  1. Lack of consent based on mental disability, drug or alcohol influence, or force, duress, or fraud;
  2. Lack of consummation, or one spouse cannot have sexual intercourse;
  3. One spouse was under the age of 18 and his or her parent did not consent to the marriage; and
  4. The marriage was illegal

It’s important to note that while an annulment may seem like the preferred method of separation for some, the requirements to qualify for an annulment are quite strict. In fact, there are also time limits imposed in an annulment, which can make divorce a better option for many couples.

What is the Difference Between Divorce and Legal Separation?

If you don’t qualify for an annulment or don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to get one, divorce or legal separation are your remaining two legal options. However, divorce is preferred to legal separation for a number of reasons. The most important reason why divorce is preferred is because legal separation is basically a divorce, without the finality.

In a legal separation, you’ll negotiate parenting time, child support, and other related issues in divorce. Thus, you will pay for most of the litigation or attorney’s fees to settle issues, as they would be in a divorce, without the status of being divorced. Most couples choose legal separation as an option when they aren’t sure whether divorce is the right option. However, many couples come back and get divorced at a later time, simply adding to the expense and hassle of the situation.

Contact Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. for More Information

Whether you’re considering annulment, divorce, or even legal separation, Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. can help. Larry has over 35 years of experience in family law and has carefully negotiated thousands of divorces during his career.

If you’ve been considering divorce, contact Larry for your free, 30-minute consultation at 630-470-9990 or fill out our simple online form and we will contact you to set up an appointment within 48 hours. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you navigate your options for separation.

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