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Understanding Common Law Marriage in Illinois

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Common-law marriage is a term used to describe a legal union between two people even though the couple has not purchased a marriage license or had their marriage solemnized. Currently, eight states in the US recognize common-law marriages. However, each state may require couples to satisfy different rules and regulations in order to validate the common-law marriage so that it is legally recognized within the state.

Does Illinois Recognize Common Law Marriage?

Illinois does not legally recognize common law marriages if its citizens enter into one. Illinois does however recognize the validity of common law marriages which were established in one of the eight states that recognize them. Those states include Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

Couples who move into Illinois and have common-law marriages from one of the states listed above are entitled to the same protections that legally married couples in Illinois enjoy. In the event of a divorce, the couple with a common-law marriage from another state can proceed through the Illinois court system to divide marital assets and establish other agreements during the divorce.

Unmarried Couples Who Cohabitate in Illinois

Although Illinois does not recognize common-law marriages, this doesn’t mean there aren’t citizens who are cohabitating and acting as a married couple. For these types of couples, there might be a lifestyle where finances are shared, assets are shared, and families are built and blended.

If a cohabiting couple is not protected by a common-law marriage from another state and has entered into a union or lifestyle that might socially be described as a common-law marriage, they may want to enter into a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement offers the individuals in a relationship some protection as it is similar to a prenuptial agreement. These types of agreements are established for couples who are living together and sharing their lives without being legally married.

What Is a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement offers couples who are not legally married a form of protection in the event they split up. Cohabitation agreements spell out how the couple will keep separate or combine their finances, and how they will distribute any finances, debts, or assets in the event they break up.

Cohabitation agreements solely focus on assets and finances. A cohabitation agreement cannot enforce custodial agreements if a couple shares a child. Agreements relating to child support or time spent with each parent are things that can only be established by the courts.

Protect Your Interests and Speak With an Experienced Layer

If you have moved to Illinois after having lived in a state that recognizes common-law marriage, it’s important to understand the rights you are afforded in Illinois. If you don’t have the protections of a common-law marriage but are looking to establish a cohabitation agreement, an experienced family lawyer can help.

At Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt, our experienced team of attorneys can help you navigate the details of your relationship’s financial standing so that you are protected no matter what life throws at you. Reach out to one of our experienced attorneys today to set up a consultation.

Johnson Westra Broker Whittaker & Newitt, P.C.

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Phone: 630-665-9600

Johnson, Westra, Broecker, Whittaker & Newitt, P.C. is located in Carol Stream, St. Charles and Chicago, IL and serves clients in and around Wood Dale, Glen Ellyn, Lisle, Addison, Lombard, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Aurora, Villa Park, Oak Brook, Naperville, Westmont, Hinsdale, Woodridge, Clarendon Hills, Elmhurst, Darien, Eola, Lemont, Stone Park, Franklin Park, Mooseheart, North Aurora, Melrose Park, Streamwood, Robbins, Romeoville, Schiller Park, Bartlett, River Grove, Plainfield, Elmwood Park, Bolingbrook, Elk Grove Village, Batavia, Rolling Meadows, Boone County, Cook County, De Kalb County, Du Page County, Grundy County, Kane County, Kankakee County, Kendall County, Lake County, Lee County, Mchenry County, Ogle County and Will County.

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