Understanding Illinois Marriage License Requirements
Planning a wedding can be a joyful yet demanding experience, and understanding the legal requirements is a crucial step for soon-to-be-married couples. In Illinois, obtaining a marriage license is a necessary legal procedure to ensure your union is recognized by the state. This article will guide you through the essential requirements you need to fulfill to obtain a marriage license in Illinois.
To be eligible for a marriage license in Illinois, both parties must be 18 years of age or older. Couples younger than 18 but at least 16 years old may marry with parental consent and judicial approval. Same-sex marriages are also legally recognized in Illinois following the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which took effect on June 1, 2014.
When applying for a marriage license, both parties must provide:
- A valid form of identification such as a driver's license, state ID, passport, or birth certificate;
- Proof of age and residency;
- Social Security numbers;
In cases of previous marriages, documentation proving dissolution (divorce decree) or annulment, or the death certificate of the former spouse must also be presented.
Where to Apply
Couples must appear together at the county clerk's office in the county where the marriage will take place. Illinois has 102 counties, and each has its own County Clerk's office; thus, it's essential to apply in the correct jurisdiction.
The Application Process
The process involves completing an application form which asks for information about each party's name, address, date of birth, and marital history. Couples must swear under oath that all information provided is accurate.
There is a one-day waiting period in Illinois from obtaining the license to when the ceremony can legally be performed. However, this requirement can sometimes be waived by a judge.
Fees and Expirations
The cost of obtaining a marriage license varies by county but typically ranges from $15 to $75. The license is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance and may only be used within the state of Illinois.
An officiant such as a judge, ordained clergy member, or public official must perform the ceremony. Witnesses are not required by Illinois law; however, some officiants or religious institutions may request them.
The legal formalities surrounding marriage licenses have evolved significantly over time. For instance, until 1962 in Illinois, there was no requirement for a blood test before obtaining a marriage license—a practice once widespread across various states as a precaution against communicable diseases like syphilis.
While getting married is an exciting milestone, it’s important to understand and adhere to the legal requirements set forth by the State of Illinois. By ensuring all criteria are met and documents are properly submitted, couples can look forward to their special day with confidence and peace of mind.