In Illinois, the law considers a marriage annulment a “declaration of invalidity of marriage.” It is a court order stating the marriage is not valid and therefore, should not be recognized by the state. A marriage annulment is different from a divorce. A divorce recognizes that a valid marriage is now over. Essentially, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened.
In Illinois there are four bases for requesting an annulment in Illinois:
1.) One of the individuals could not consent to be married. This can be as a result of a mental disability, or because one of individuals was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It can also be because one of the parties consented to marriage as a result of force, coercion, or fraud. This is probably the most common reason for requesting a marriage annulment.
2.) The parties are unable to consummate their marriage. The person asking for a marriage annulment must not have known this at the time of saying ‘I do.’ Seeking a marriage annulment for inability of having sexual intercourse is mostly found as a result of extenuating medical conditions.
3.) One of the individuals was under age 18 and did not receive their parent’s consent. On top of obtaining a marriage annulment, it can be presumed the underage child will face punishment from their parents for not taking the traditional route and asking mom and dad for permission prior. Arguably, this could be worse than any legal outcome produced by a court of law.
4.) Lastly, couples can request a marriage annulment if the marriage was not legal. In the state of Illinois, a marriage is not legal if either of the parties are still married to another individual (bigamy), or if the marriage is between close blood relatives.