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St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
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St. Charles family law attorneyWhen a couple decides to end their marriage, they may be able to get an annulment. It is important to know an annulment is different from a divorce. A divorce is the legal dissolution of a valid marriage by a court or other governing body. An annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void within secular and religious systems. Unlike divorce, it is typically considered retroactive, meaning an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the start like it had never even happened. In Illinois, annulment is called a Declaration of Invalidity, and marriages can only be annulled if they were considered illegal from the start.

Grounds for an Annulment in Illinois

An annulment is only used to end an “invalid” marriage, or one that should never have happened in the first place. Annulments are rare in Illinois because it is somewhat difficult to prove grounds for annulment. There are certain legal guidelines for annulments, as well as possible time restrictions depending on the circumstances of the case. One of the following legal grounds must be met for an annulment to be granted:

  • Fraud or misrepresentation: One spouse did not tell the truth, such as already being married;
  • Impotency or incest: One spouse is impotent (and did not disclose this information to his or her partner prior to the marriage), or the spouses are too close in relation to marry legally; or
  • Lack of consent: One spouse did not have mental capacity for consent or was forced to get married.

Grounds for a Divorce in Illinois

Under Illinois law, a spouse can file for divorce based on “no-fault” grounds, commonly referred to as “irreconcilable differences,” which requires proof that the marriage is irretrievably broken and the couple must be separated for an amount of time. For many years, it was also possible to seek a divorce on “fault-based” grounds such as adultery, abandonment, or repeated abuse. Today, however, all Illinois divorce petitions must indicate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to irreconcilable differences.

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Kane County divorce lawyersIf a couple has been married for many years, the decision to divorce is not an easy one. Since a lot of time and effort was put into the marriage, it can be devastating both emotionally and financially for one or both of the spouses. The division of marital assets is an issue that needs to be determined during the divorce proceedings, which can cause a lot of conflict if the spouses do not agree on how to divide everything, especially financial assets. One or both partners might have retirement accounts such as 401K, IRA, or pension. Even in an uncontested divorce, splitting the retirement assets can be confusing, so it is helpful to seek legal counsel to make sure both spouses receive what they deserve.  

What is Considered Marital Property?

According to Illinois divorce law, any marital property will be divided fairly and equitably, but not necessarily equally. This is referred to as “equitable distribution.” Marital property is generally considered all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This can include real estate, furniture, and vehicles, in addition to financial and retirement accounts.

A spouse may be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s retirement plans, such as a 401(k), IRA, stock options, or pension benefits, and vice versa. If a spouse pays into a retirement account or a pension during the marriage, at least part of that account or pension is considered marital property, regardless if only one spouse’s income was paid into the account. All pension benefits, including those under the Illinois Pension Code, as well as stock options, acquired by either spouse during the marriage are marital property, regardless of which spouse participates in the pension plan.

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St. Charles divorce lawyerA divorce is likely one of the most difficult events you can go through in your lifetime. Even if you are the spouse who filed for divorce, the full impact of your decision might not hit you until long after the ink has dried on your papers. Additionally, if you did not want the divorce or were blindsided by it, you may feel hopeless and unsure of what the future holds for you.

Many communities throughout the region have divorce and separation support groups, which are offered through churches or local park districts. These groups can be a good forum for people of all ages and backgrounds who are going through a painful period in their lives.   

Types and Benefits of Support Groups

Divorce and separation groups provide a comfortable environment in which you can share your innermost feelings. It can be very therapeutic to talk to other people who understand what you are feeling in order to begin the healing process. You can contact local churches or look online to find the closest divorce support group in your area. The following are some nationally recognized support groups dealing with divorce or separation:

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Geneva divorce lawyer

Getting a divorce is a difficult decision under any circumstances. However, if one spouse has Alzheimer's, that adds even more stress to the scenario. In many cases, the healthy spouse may feel like the marriage is over, since the other spouse’s personality or behavior has changed. If dementia is a factor in your Illinois divorce, you should contact a skilled family law attorney to help you understand the legal aspects of your situation.

Moral and Legal Considerations During Divorce

Today, 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that can lead to memory loss and behavioral changes. An affected spouse who was normally calm and loving can become violent and angry, due to chemical changes in the brain.

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Posted on in Divorce

Barrington divorce lawyers

Divorce can be an emotionally and physically traumatic experience, regardless of the level of civility shared by the divorcing spouses. Still, the more contentious the relationship, the more draining the divorce process can be. 

For soon-to-be former couples who wish to avoid combative and costly courtroom divorce litigation, there are ways to keep divorce proceedings from becoming total warfare.

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