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Matrimony 101: The Path to Marriage in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County family law attorney, marriage in IllinoisTypically, marriage is the most important personal and legal relationship a person can have. However, there are certain rules that must be followed for a marriage to be considered legal. Aside from the legal requirements of marriage, the success of a marriage also depends on how well a couple handles issues related to communication, finances, conflict, parenting, expectations and much more.

In order to get married in Illinois, there are a few rules that need to be followed. First, both parties must be 18 years old or they need to qualify for an exception. Second, neither party may be married to someone else. Finally, both parties must be considered legally competent to enter into a civil contract.

The planning phase of a marriage is time consuming and obtaining a marriage license might be low on the list of priorities that need to be completed. Yet getting a marriage license is the most important step to take in order to receive the legal benefits. It is important to note that if a party was recently divorced, he or she might be required to show a certified copy of the divorce decree, on top of the license fees.   

Requirements of Marriage

In order to meet the legal requirements of becoming married in Illinois, both parties must be of the legal age of consent. Hence, both parties need to be 18 years of age or older. If one party is younger than 18, but is 16 or older, both parties need parental consent prior to the marriage being official. If a party is under the age of 16, he or she cannot get married in Illinois.

Furthermore, both parties need to have the mental ability to agree to become husband and wife. This means that both parties must be of “sound mind” which grants them the ability to understand the nature and responsibilities of marriage. Likewise, one cannot marry any person with whom he or she is blood-related. But, marrying someone of the same sex is permitted.

Finally, under the laws of the State of Illinois, there needs to be an official ceremony for the marriage to be considered legal. The state requires the ceremony be performed by one of the following:

  • Judge;

  • Public official who is given the power to perform marriages;

  • Religious organization; or

  • County clerk.

The Effects of Marriage in Illinois

The process leading to marriage is exhausting; however, it has several protections and benefits. Once a couple is married, they will be entitled to the following:

  • Tax benefits;

  • Inheritance benefits;

  • Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits;

  • Employment benefits;

  • Decision-making benefits, including the right to make medical decisions if your spouse is unable to make decisions on their own;

  • Financial support, including equitable property division in a divorce; and

  • Various consumer benefits and discounts.

Couples receive many benefits once married. Still, responsibilities are also incurred. These responsibilities include financially supporting any children, becoming liable for family expenses, sharing income, and becoming financially liable for your spouse in the event of divorce. 

Consult an Attorney 

If you and your partner are seriously considering marriage, please contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney who can inform you of the impact marriage will have on your life, and ensure that you both have a smooth walk down the aisle without any unexpected bumps along the way.   

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