When two people are going through a divorce, one of the first things courts consider is whether the marriage itself was VALID. Albeit rare, under Illinois law, parties can assert a ground for dissolution of the marriage alleging that the marriage itself was not valid. Here are a few of the possible reasons:
- a party lacked property capacity to consent to the marriage (i.e., mental incapacity, under influence of drugs or alcohol — think Brittany Spears’s Vegas marriage);
- a party was under force, duress or fraud (please note that false representations as to $$$, character or social standing is not considered fraud under Illinois law);
- one party the physical ability to consummate the marriage and the other party didn’t know about this ….. (ahhhh… issue?);
- one party was under age (btw, the legal age for marriage in Illinois is 18, but it could be as young as 16 if there is written consent from a parent);
- one party was already married (i.e., bigomy) (hold your panties on this one– it could also be a situation where one person THOUGHT they were divorced and there was some hiccup and the divorce was not officially granted or signed); and,
- the marriage is otherwise prohibited (e.g., incest relationships).
Oh by the way, if you are someone who went though a marriage ceremony and cohabitated with someone believing you were married in good faith and then later find out that there is an issue with the validity of the marriage (let’s say your spouse’s divorce didn’t go through in Nevada or Brazil or somewhere else like he or she thought) then you are what’s called a punitive spouse. Don’t fret- you have rights like you were married up until you find out that the marriage was invalid.
Rincker Law, PLLC is prepared to help parties who may have a ground that his or her marriage was not validly entered into.