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Common Law Marriage and Divorce in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

Some of the basic laws which govern what makes a marriage valid differ significantly from state to state. While Illinois does not recognize common law marriage, many states do. What happens if you have a common law marriage in another state, move to Illinois, and want a divorce?

What is Common Law Marriage?

According to state law, common law marriage is when a couple becomes married, even though they never went through any of the formalities such as retaining a marriage license or having an authorized person perform a marriage ceremony. Moreover, states that recognize common law marriages each have their own requirements, and these requirements must be met in order for a common law marriage to be recognized.

Getting an Illinois Divorce After Having a Common Law Marriage in Another State

If you lived in a state that has a provision for common law marriage, and you met all of the requirements, you are legally married. If you later move to Illinois and want a divorce, so long as you or your spouse meets the 90-day residency requirement, you can petition for a dissolution of marriage in Illinois state courts.

Your petition for a divorce may need to be more detailed. You will need to demonstrate that you met the requirements of common law marriage in a state that recognizes common law marriage, while living in that state.

Once the court decides it has jurisdiction of the case, it will proceed through the court system like any other divorce case. All of the final decisions will be based on the law of Illinois.

What if There is No Common Law Marriage?

Some couples may have lived together for many years, had children, owned property together, but were never legally married and never met the requirements for common law marriage. In these cases the couple cannot get a divorce in Illinois.

However, the court can make decisions about child support and allocation of parental responsibilities, formerly known as custody. If the couple had a civil union or domestic partnership agreement that meets the requirements of Illinois law, a family court can make rulings on property division subject to those agreements.

If you have questions about divorce, child support, allocation of parental responsibilities, or any other family law issue, please contact a skilled DuPage County family law attorney. Call The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. today at 630-462-9500 to schedule a consultation.



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