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IL divorce lawyerPeople usually envision their wedding day as being a moment full of hope and joy. And while for many couples it is exactly that, the days and months following the wedding may be equally full of surprises and disappointments. It can be hard to know someone without living with them, and even then, people can be surprisingly good at covering up important information when it suits their purposes. In times like these, it can be useful to know when it may be possible to declare your marriage invalid. Also known as getting a marriage annulled, a declaration of invalidity of marriage can end your relationship without going through the hassle of a divorce.

When Can Someone Get an Annulment?

Not everyone who gets married and quickly regrets it can get an annulment. Unlike a divorce, in which someone does not need to declare grounds at all, there are only four grounds for annulment in Illinois. These are:

  • Illegality - A marriage is illegal if one spouse was already married or if the spouses are too closely related. Siblings and first cousins cannot get married in Illinois unless the first cousins are over 50 years old or are infertile. Although most annulment grounds have time limits, a couple who discovers they are too closely related can annul their marriage at any time.
  • Age - If one spouse was under age 18 and did not have parental consent, the marriage may be declared invalid. Even with parental consent, someone cannot get married in Illinois before age 16. An annulment must take place before the age of legal adulthood or parental consent.
  • Consent - If a spouse was incapable of consenting because of mental illness or drug or alcohol use, a marriage can be annulled. This occasionally happens when a drunk couple decides to wed in a spur-of-the-moment ceremony, but it can also happen when a partner was having a psychological breakdown or was unmedicated and did not understand the full implications of getting married. An annulment for lack of capacity to consent must take place within 90 days.
  • Lack of consummation - If a couple gets married and discovers that one spouse is not capable of consummating the marriage through sexual intimacy, as long as the other spouse did not about the physical incapacity, the marriage can be annulled. An annulment for lack of physical capacity must take place within a year.

Call a Wheaton, IL Annulment Attorney

At Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC, we know that sometimes the unexpected happens. That is why our DuPage County annulment attorneys are committed to helping you explore the available options to end your marriage as soon as possible. Schedule your comprehensive consultation by calling us today at 630-665-2500. We are available for consultations over the phone, in person, or by teleconference.

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IL family lawyerThe last thing most engaged couples are interested in talking about is how they will treat each other if their relationship ends. In the excitement of wedding planning and the blush of early love, the idea that a relationship could end in divorce seems impossible and deeply unromantic to discuss. Yet considering the statistics about divorce, couples would be wise to plan ahead and discuss the most important issues they will face. Doing so presents great opportunities for intimate conversations and may even prevent an ill-fated marriage from happening in the first place. Before you tie the knot, talk about these four things - and then approach a skilled prenuptial agreement attorney to create a great premarital contract that protects your priorities.

Children

Not everybody wants children, yet couples with mismatched priorities get married all the time. An individual’s preference for children is highly unlikely to change over time, and when a partner who wants children is coupled with a partner who does not, divorce is often the inevitable outcome. In addition to discussing simply wanting children, engaged couples should discuss how many children they want and their parenting philosophy when it comes to discipline, which parent may need to make career sacrifices, and how major expenses like college will be paid for.

Money

Couples frequently get divorced because of incompatible philosophies around spending and saving money. Set a budget, identify long-term financial goals, and discuss career ambitions well before you set a wedding date. Having a prenuptial agreement is a great way to address financial issues like property division and spousal support that could be very contentious in a divorce.

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IL divorce lawyerThere are many reasons why a couple may want to create a prenuptial agreement before they get married. If either party owns significant assets, or if one party earns a higher income, they may want to take steps to protect themselves financially in the case of a divorce. A prenup may also be used to ensure that children from a previous relationship will have the financial resources they need. This type of agreement can help a couple avoid uncertainty in the future, and by making decisions about how matters will be handled if they choose to get a divorce, they may be able to minimize potential conflict. For those who are considering a prenup, it is important to understand what types of decisions an agreement can and cannot include.

Issues That Can Be Addressed in a Prenup

A prenuptial agreement will generally be limited to addressing issues related to a couple’s property and finances. The terms of a prenup may include:

  • Each party’s rights and obligations regarding the property they own together or separately. This may include details about a person’s rights to buy, sell, use, manage, control, or dispose of different types of assets, such as financial accounts, real estate property, vehicles, or other valuable items.
  • Whether different assets are considered marital or separate property. Separate property generally includes any assets owned by either party before getting married, and a spouse will be able to retain ownership of these assets if their marriage ends in divorce. Marital property must be divided between spouses in the case of divorce.
  • Decisions about how property will be divided in a divorce. A couple may agree on how property division will be handled, removing uncertainty about ownership of different types of assets and avoiding conflict about these issues.
  • Modification or elimination of spousal support. During a divorce, one spouse may ask for financial support from the other spouse. To avoid conflict about this issue, spouses may use a prenup to decide the circumstances when spousal maintenance will or will not be paid or to specify the amount and duration of spousal support payments.

A prenuptial agreement may also address any other issues that a couple believes are relevant, as long as these terms do not violate the law or go against public policy. However, a prenup generally cannot make decisions about the custody of a couple’s children, since these issues will be decided based on what is in the best interests of the children rather than the wishes of the parents. A prenup also cannot include any terms that would affect a child’s right to receive child support that will provide for their ongoing needs.

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IL divorce lawyerPrenuptial agreements have always had some sort of societal taboo on them, but in recent years, society’s opinion of prenuptial agreements, or prenups for short, has evolved and more people have accepted their role. A prenuptial agreement is a document that both people sign before they get married that spells out the terms of their divorce if they were to ever get one. As a legal agreement, your prenuptial agreement is subject to certain standards and rules in order to be enforceable. If the agreement violates any of those standards or rules, those sections may be invalidated, if not the entire agreement. If you are thinking about getting a prenuptial agreement, it is important to make sure your agreement follows the rules, so it will be enforceable if you ever need to use it.

Not Having Full Financial Disclosure From Both Spouses

Before you sign a prenuptial agreement, both you and your spouse are supposed to disclose all of your financial information. This includes any property that you own, inheritances you expect to receive, and any liabilities you may have, such as student loans or credit card debt. Without full disclosure, the argument could be made that you did not fully understand what you were agreeing to when you signed the agreement.

Making the Agreement Extremely One-Sided

Another issue that stems from the previous issue is having an “unconscionable” agreement. While there is no legal definition of “unconscionable” in Illinois, it typically means extremely unfair or heavily favoring one spouse over the other.

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When people get married, the traditional vows state that the union is ‘til death do us part. Unfortunately, not all couples live happily ever after. Whether the relationship fails due to outside influences or addictions, or the partners simply grow apart, a divorce may be the best option for everyone involved. During the divorce process in Illinois, a couple must decide how to divide their property and assets. This may be especially important if there is a family-owned business or other high-net-worth assets at stake. If the couple had a prenuptial agreement (prenup) in place, these determinations may already be made, making the marriage dissolution process much easier and faster. However, there are certain factors that can make a prenuptial agreement invalid in Illinois, so it is important to avoid making a mistake when creating this legal document.

Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act governs all prenuptial agreements. In order to be legally binding, a prenup must be put in writing and signed by both spouses. If a couple decides not to get married, any premarital agreement they made is voided. Prior to signing a prenup, both parties should disclose all of their financial information to each other, including their income, any property they own, and outstanding debts.

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