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Is Common Law Marriage in Illinois Legal?

 Posted on June 29, 2021 in Family Law

IL family lawyerIf you are getting a divorce and have never been married – but have lived with your partner for many years, and may even have children together – you may have heard about “common law” marriages and wonder whether they exist in Illinois. The short answer is: No, Illinois does not allow common law marriages to take place in the state. However, Illinois does recognize common law marriage from other states. In this article, we will discuss what common law marriage is, and how common law marriages from other states are handled in an Illinois divorce.

What Is Common Law Marriage?

In states where common law marriages are legal, the state will generally treat a couple’s relationship as if it were a marriage if that is what the couple has done themselves. Couples must meet the state’s laws governing marriage, such as minimum age restrictions, and cannot be married to anyone else.

Couples must also present their relationship to the public as a married relationship. They can do this by wearing wedding rings, sharing bank accounts, and referring to each other as husband and wife.

There are only eight states that currently allow their residents to enter into common law marriages: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas, and Utah.

How Does Illinois Handle Divorce in Common Law Marriages?

Couples in a common law marriage from another state can get divorced in Illinois, and the state will divide up their assets the same as any other married couple. However, the couple will have to show that they did, in fact, meet the common law marriage laws in the state where they previously lived and that they did not already get divorced.

Are There Unmarried Couples’ Rights?

In 2016, the Illinois Supreme Court set a legal precedent by establishing that unmarried couples in Illinois do not have a right to each other’s assets if the relationship ends, even if they have a child. If they wish, two people in a long-term relationship can enter into a cohabitation agreement, which addresses how they will separate their assets and finances if the relationship ends. But cohabitation agreements do not affect child support and parental visitation, which is always approved by the court.

Consult with a Lombard, Illinois Family Law Attorney

If your relationship was considered a common law marriage in the state in which you previously were a resident, you should talk to an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. The attorneys at A. Traub & Associates can help you understand the legal nuances of your case and make sure your property is divided fairly in a divorce. Contact us at 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation today.



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