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Does Illinois recognize common law marriage?

Lansing, IL |

My son is 6 years old and his dad and I have been together for a little over 8 years. For about 99% of this time he has been the provider because we both wanted me to be at home with our children. I also have a daughter who is 10 from a previous relationship. Things have been going horribly and we are both at the point where we think separating may be our best option right now. But I would like to know my rights outside of child support. Does Illinois support common law marriage, and if so, how many years are required to fall under the category of common law wife? And what are my rights, if any, under this law?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    Would that marriage laws, which vary greatly from one state to the next, were as simple as a yes or no. As a general rule, the law that governs the validity of a marriage is determined at the time and place of the claimed marriage. Illinois, according to Wikipedia, does not recognize "common-law," meaning non-ceremonial, marriage. However, a couple now living in Illinois who previously lived in a state that does, and their relationship at that time met the requirements for marriage at common law, would be married. That marriage, commenced under the different law of another state, would be recognized in Illinoise. Typically, the proof of the marriage is compicated when one party denies the marriage.

    For precise and focused advice regarding your rights, married or as unmarried co-parents, nothing short of a consultation with an experienced family law practitioner in your area will meet your needs.

    Best wishes for a favorable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

  2. No, Illinois does not recognize common law marriage. Only a small minority of states recognize common law marriages.

    The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general advice does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Persons with legal questions are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

  3. You have very few rights aside from child support, and there has to be an establishgment of paternity before you can even get that. If I recall correctly, Illinois has not recognized common law marriage since 1903. Get a lawyer.