Declaration of Invalidity (Annulment)

A declaration of invalidity of a marriage or civil union, otherwise known as annulment, is the process through which a marriage or civil union is legally declared null and void. 

By annulling a marriage or civil union, both spouses or partners will no longer be considered to be in that marriage or civil union.

A marriage or civil union can only be annulled under certain conditions, including:

  • one or both parties were unable to consent to entering a marriage or civil union LESS THAN 90 DAYS AGO for one of the following reasons:

  • being forced to agree to the marriage or civil union

  • being under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or

  • the presence of a mental illness that would prevent one from being able to consent

  • one spouse is physically unable to consummate a marriage through sexual intercourse

  • you are in a prohibited marriage or prohibited civil union; OR

  • you are a minor child that has entered into a marriage or civil union

In Illinois, there are two types of annulments:

  1. A retroactive annulment, which means the marriage or civil union never took place; and

  2. A non-retroactive annulment, which means the original marriage or civil union was legally considered valid UP TO the date of annulment

Non-retroactive annulments are rare. If your annulment is non-retroactive – and the two of you have minor children together, adopted children together, or one of you are currently pregnant – you may have to deal with these additional legal issues: