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Illinois Annulment and Prohibited Marriage Laws

The institution of marriage is regulated at the state level, although federal courts have stepped in with respect to marriage equality and other constitutional issues. Civil annulment refers to the legal process of invalidating a marriage. It is different from divorce. At the same time, certain types of marriage are prohibited, and they automatically qualify for civil annulments.

In Illinois, civil annulment and prohibited marriage laws state that a civil annulment may be granted for lack of capacity, the physical inability to consummate a marriage, and other reasons.

Every state, including Illinois, also has a list of conditions that disqualify a couple from getting married, including blood relations and bigamy. Examples of people that cannot get married, due to the prohibitions related to blood relations, are first cousins or in-laws. Bigamy is defined as marrying a second spouse while already being legally married to another person.

Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

Under Illinois law, like every other state, same-sex marriages are legal. At one point in history, states outlawed same-sex marriage. However, for the entire country, that changed in 2015, while Illinois law has allowed for same-sex marriages since 2014.

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case called Obergefell v. HodgesIn that case, the U.S. Supreme Court found that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. In the wake of that decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, same-sex marriage is legal across the United States.

Prohibited Marriages and Civil Annulments in Illinois

In the table below, you'll find the main parts of laws in Illinois that are related to prohibited marriages and civil annulments. See FindLaw's Marriage Law section for more articles and resources.

Prohibited Marriages Under 5/212, the following types of marriages are prohibited:
  • A person cannot marry when they are still legally married to another person, which is also referred to as bigamy,
  • Marriages between relatives, while there are exceptions for certain types of cousins, and
  • Common law marriages.
Grounds for Annulment
  • Any marriage that is prohibited by law automatically qualifies for a civil annulment. Please refer to the list of marriages that are prohibited by law in Illinois, which is above in "Prohibited Marriages."
  • Under 5/301, a person may also qualify for a civil annulment if they or the other party to the marriage lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage as a result of illness, intoxication, force, duress, or fraud.
  • Under the same statute, a person may also qualify for a civil annulment if they or the other party to the marriage is physically unable to consummate the marriage or either of the parties to the marriage were or are underage.
Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment
  • Under 5/302, time limits vary as to when a person can obtain an annulment, depending on the grounds upon which a person is seeking an annulment.
  • For example, if a person entered into a marriage without the ability to consent to the marriage due to an illness or other infirmity, a person has 90 days from discovering the condition to file for an annulment.
  • For more information, consider reviewing the law that is linked immediately above.
Legitimacy of Children
  • Under Subsection C of 5/212, children born or adopted during a marriage that is prohibited by law or is or was civilly annulled are considered legitimate.

Note: State laws are constantly changing. Contact an Illinois family law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about laws in Illinois, including those related to prohibited marriages or civil annulments:

  • At Illinois Law, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those related to prohibited marriages or civil annulments.
  • At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Illinois Civil Annulments and Prohibited Marriages: Related Resources

Consider reviewing the following resources, as well, for more information about laws and legal issues related to prohibited marriages and civil annulments:

Need More Help? Contact an Attorney Today

If you're considering a civil annulment or are concerned about the legitimacy of your marriage, consider contacting a qualified family law attorney near you. They can assist you with all the the legal issues and procedures that come with such concerns.

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