Legal Memorandum: Common Law Marriages in IL

Issue: What is the status of common law marriage in Illinois?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Common-law marriage; Legally recognized; Cohabitation
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: 244 N.E.2d 830; 311 N.E.2d 242
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2001

Although Illinois does not recognize common law marriage within its boundaries, it does recognize common law marriage when the status arose in other states.  In re Wakefield’s Estate, 19 Ill. App. 3d 98, 311 N.E.2d 242 (1974).  For such a status to be recognized, the cohabitation and representation as husband and wife must be voluntary, with the intent at the present time to enter into the relationship of husband and wife followed by cohabitation.  Newton v. Lehman, 105 Ill. App. 2d 442, 244 N.E.2d 830 (1969).


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