Invalidity – Annulment

A Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, or what is commonly known as an “Annulment”, refers to the legal procedure where a marriage is declared null and void. Unlike a divorce, an annulment is generally retroactive. An annulled marriage is considered invalid from the beginning; from a legal standpoint, the marriage never happened.

In Illinois, annulment is covered by statute, generally when (1) one of the parties lacked the capacity to consent to marriage, either due to mental incapacity, physical weakness, or because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if one party was forced into marriage under duress or by fraud; or (2) when one party lacked the physical capacity to consummate the marriage through sexual intercourse and at the time of the marriage the other party was unaware of this physical incapacity; or (3) when one of the parties was 16 or 17 years of age and did not have the consent of their parents or a guardian or approval from a judge; or(4) when the marriage was prohibited by law, for example, bigamy.