When planning your wedding in Illinois, make sure you include getting the marriage license on your to-do list. It's a simple process and you'll need to take a few documents to the county clerk's office in the county where the wedding will take place. There are other requirements you'll want to know about as well.
It's recommended that you get this legal aspect completed about a month before your wedding date. Also, Illinois does have a one-day waiting period, so be sure that you don't put this off until the last minute.
Residency and ID Requirement
You do not have to be a resident of Illinois to be married in the state as long as your marriage does not violate the law in your home state.
Both of you will be required to apply for the marriage license in person at a county clerk's office. The license is only valid in the county where it is issued.
When applying, you need to show proof of your age and identification. Acceptable documents include a driver’s license, state-issued ID card, passport, or military ID. If you do not have any of these, you will need to provide two alternative forms of identification. Each county clerk will be able to tell you what is acceptable.
Additionally, you must know the full birth names of your parents as well as the state where they were born. If they are alive, you must provide their current addresses as well.
Some counties allow you to begin the application online. You will still have to appear at the office to finalize it, but this can save time and let you gather all the information you need.
Illinois has a 24-hour waiting period to get married. This means that you must get the license at least one day prior to the ceremony.
If either of you was previously been married, you must know the date as well as the county and state where the death or divorce occurred. If the event happened within the last 30 days, you will need official documentation, such as a divorce decree or death certificate.
The marriage license fee varies by county. Some counties charge just $27, while others—Cook County (Chicago), for example—require $60. Most will only accept cash, though some allow you to use other forms of payment.
Illinois does not require blood or any other tests to get married.
Proxy marriages are not allowed in Illinois. You both must be present both for the license application and the wedding ceremony.
First cousins may marry in Illinois only if they are older than the age of 50 or one person can prove that they are permanently sterile. It is not legal to marry any relative closer than a first cousin.
Common-law marriages are not recognized in Illinois.
Same-sex couples have been able to get married in Illinois since June 1, 2014. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the 2015 case of Obergefell vs. Hodges that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex marriages. This effectively legalized it nationwide.
Since June 2011, same-sex couples could obtain spousal rights through civil unions as well. The spousal rights include "such things as hospital visitation, making health-care decisions, and matters concerning probate of a partner's estate."
If you are 16 or 17 years of age, you can be married in Illinois under certain circumstances, but you may not enter into a civil union. To get a marriage license, you will have to provide a copy of your birth certificate along with some other sort of identification showing your date of birth.
You will also need to have the sworn consent from both of your parents or legal guardian. They must appear before a clerk of court and provide identification. Legal guardians must show proof of guardianship. If a parent is deceased, you will need to show a death certificate, proof of guardianship, or a court order waiving consent.
Anyone who is under 16 years old cannot get married in Illinois.
In Illinois, you can be married by ordained ministers, judges, retired judges, and public officials whose powers include solemnization of marriages.
The Illinois marriage license is valid for 60 days and only in the county in which it was issued. You must have the wedding ceremony within that time or you will need to apply for a new license and pay the fee again.
Copy of Certificate of Marriage
After the wedding, your officiant will file the license with the county clerk to be recorded. You will not, however, automatically receive a copy of your marriage certificate.
Whether you were recently married or it's been years, requests for a marriage certificate must be made in the county that issued the license. Some counties offer different types, including a certified legal copy, which can be requested in person, online, or in the mail for a small fee.
The Illinois Division of Vital Records does not provide certified copies of marriage certificates because they are kept at the county level. However, that department can supply you with a marriage verification of any marriage in the state that has occurred since 1962.
The information given here is intended only as guidance to help you get started with your marriage license. It's important that you check with the county clerk to verify all information and requirements because state and county marriage license requirements change often.
Additionally, this information should not be taken as legal advice. Consult a local attorney with any legal questions.