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. Annulment refers to the legal process of invalidating a marriage, which is different from divorce.

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

Every state has a list of conditions that disqualify a couple from getting married, including blood relations and bigamy. States also have specific grounds for annulment, which allow for a quick end to the marriage without the expense or stigma of divorce.

Illinois, like in other states, lists certain conditions and relationships that disqualify a couple from getting married in the first place. These include having an existing blood or marriage relationship (such as first cousins or in-laws), more than one spouse (bigamy), or being the same gender.

Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

Same-sex marriage laws in Illinois marked a historic shift on June 1, 2014. On that date, Illinois counties were required to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses under legislation signed into law late in 2013. A February federal court ruling in Chicago declared Illinois' original ban unconstitutional, clearing the way for some same-sex couples to marry.

A subsequent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges found that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional. While Illinois could try to pass legislation that avoids Obergefell and the state-level decisions regarding marriage bans, at present same-sex marriage is legal throughout the state.

Illinois Prohibited Marriages and Annulment Laws

The main provisions of Illinois annulment and prohibited marriage laws are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Marriage Law section for more articles and resources.

Code Sections 750 ILCS 5/212, 5/301, 5/302, 5/303
Grounds for Annulment Capacity lacking (infirmity, alcohol, drugs, force, duress, fraud); physically incapable of consummating; underage; prohibited marriage
Time Limits for Obtaining Annulment 90 days after knowledge of lack of capacity (either party); 1 year after knowledge of inability to consummate; any time prior to reaching age of consent; all petitions for annulment must be brought before death of either party
Legitimacy of Children Children born or adopted of prohibited or annulled marriage are legitimate
Prohibited Marriages Former marriage undissolved; between ancestor and descendant, brother and sister half or whole blood, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew, half or whole first cousins, (unless no chance of reproduction and both parties over 50 yrs.); common law marriages

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.

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