There are many questions to address when obtaining a separation. Couples may have to answer difficult questions relating to property division, child support and child custody. However, obtaining a divorce does not often involve the question of whether the marriage was valid in the first place. Yet, this issue does occasionally surface. Illinois has certain requirements for making a marriage legal.
When getting married in the state of Illinois, there are a variety of ways to conduct a legal union. For example, the ceremony can be performed by judges, the Cook County Circuit Clerk or in accordance with rituals associated with religious denominations. Additionally, any public official might also legally perform marriages.
Specifically, an Illinois marriage, to be valid, must be three things: licensed, solemnized and registered. Even if an individual was not legally authorized to perform a marriage, the marriage might still be legal. The trick is whether the spouses believed the individual was actually qualified to complete their marriage.
The issue really never surfaces unless one spouse is seeking to have the marriage invalidated. Such an invalidation would be an alternate option to divorce, called an annulment. An annulment is different than divorce because such an act makes it as if the parties were not ever married.
If a marriage is annulled, rather than if the couple obtains a divorce, separation of property might be treated differently. It is important to be aware of the law and one’s rights when seeking any kind of separation under the law. A family law professional can provide more information regarding the differences between an annulment and a divorce.
Source: The News-Gazette, “John Roska: What makes a marriage legal,” Sept. 15, 2013.