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Illinois Marriage Records

Illinois marriage records are vital records that contain information concerning a couple’s legal union or marriage within the state’s jurisdiction. While details included within these records may vary depending on the record type or issuing custodian, a typical marriage record in Illinois may contain:

  • The couple’s names
  • Marriage date
  • Place of marriage (county)
  • Marriage license number 
  • The officiant’s name and title
  • Witness details

Additional spouse and license details may also be available in a marriage record. However, the accessibility of these details may depend on the requester’s eligibility.

What Types of Marriage Records are Available in Illinois

The most common types of marriage records in Illinois are marriage certificates, marriage licenses, and marriage verifications. 

Marriage Certificate:

A marriage certificate is an official document that serves as legal proof that a couple is married. This document is issued after the marriage officiant returns the marriage license following the ceremony and the clerk records the marriage. 

It is worth noting that available records of marriages that happened in Illinois from January 1916 are certified copies bearing the County Clerk's official seal.

Marriage License:

A marriage license is a pre-marriage legal document that establishes that the named parties are legally eligible to marry. In Illinois, licenses are necessary for a marriage established in the state to be recognized. However, couples will have to meet the state’s conditions before applying for and obtaining a marriage license. 

Marriage Verification:

A marriage verification is an unofficial document that simply verifies that a marriage has taken place in the state. This record cannot be used for official purposes but may be obtained to get marriage facts like the names of the spouses and marriage dates. Marriage verification in Illinois is only available for unions that have taken place in the state since 1962.

Are Illinois Marriage Records Public?

Verification letters of marriages indexed in the state are obtainable by the public through the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) - Division of Vital Records. Interested persons can also access the public index to view marriage details online.

However, most certified Illinois marriage records are restricted from public view. Under the Vital Records Act, certified copies of marriage records are only available to the record subjects, persons with direct interests in the records, and others authorized by the record subjects or court order. Hence, the County Clerk's Office will only issue marriage certificates to authorized individuals.

How to Find Marriage Records in Illinois

To find, view, or obtain copies of Illinois marriage records, interested persons may take the following steps.

Step 1. Consider what records are needed or accessible: Individuals seeking marriage records should decide what kind of records they need and what kind of records they can get. Usually, records needed for official purposes are certified copies, which are only available to eligible parties. Hence, interested persons should also consider if they are eligible to obtain these copies. Alternatively, requesters may opt for marriage verification records or access online marriage indexes.

Step 2. Determine record custodian: Illinois County clerks are the official custodians and administrators of all certified marriage records in the state, while the IDPH Division of Vital Records provides marriage verifications. Additionally, the Illinois State Archives and Illinois State Genealogical Society maintain a statewide marriage index. 

Step 3. Visit website: Interested persons should visit the website of the record custodian to download request forms, access public indexes, or understand the request process. Individuals requesting certified marriage records should make sure they visit the County Clerk’s website of the specific county where the marriage took place.

Step 4. Choose the best request medium: Government agencies in Illinois offer requesters different methods of requesting records. This may include in-person, mailed, online, or faxed request orders. Interested persons should decide the best medium that suits them and follow the required steps.

Step 5. Make requests and pay fees: Making requests usually involves providing filled application forms along with fees and valid proof of identification to the record custodian. Eligible persons should send requests for certified copies to the appropriate County Clerk and marriage verification requests to:

Illinois Department of Public Health

Division of Vital Records

925 E. Ridgely Ave.

Springfield, IL 62702-2737

Fax: (217) 523-2648. 

Processing these orders could take up to seven business days. Applications that are unclear or incomplete will not be accepted. Also, the request will not be processed if an ID is not provided, is not readable, or has expired.

How to Get a Marriage License in Illinois

Marriage licenses in Illinois refer to the official document that permits a couple to marry, whereas marriage certificates are documents that serve as legal proof that a couple got married. Basically, a government official issues the marriage license before the marriage and provides the certificate after the license is filled, returned, and recorded. 

Couples who want to obtain a marriage license in Illinois must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age or 16 and 17 years old with parental consent
  • Must not be related by blood, excluding first cousins at least 50 years of age
  • Must not be currently married to someone else or in a similar legal relationship
  • Out-of-state residents must ensure that the marriage will not be deemed illegal in their state

Eligible parties may apply for marriage licenses from their respective county clerk. The marriage license application process may involve:

  • Visiting the County Clerk’s website to print the application form or getting one in person at the office
  • Filling and signing the form with accurate information
  • Visiting the County Clerk’s Office together or opt for virtual marriage license issuance if provided by the clerk
  • Providing valid identification such as state-issued ID, driver’s license, military ID, or passport. If required, the couple should also take along other documents such as a final divorce decree, certified birth certificates, or parental consent form. 
  • Paying fees through the accepted payment methods

Usually, after doing the above, the clerk issues the marriage license while the couple waits. After getting the license, successful applicants should note that the license becomes usable or effective the day after it is issued and becomes invalid after 60 days. Hence, the marriage ceremony should be within this period for it to be valid. Additionally, the marriage officiant should be a licensed clergy or authorized judge, and this person must submit the completed license to the clerk within ten days of the ceremony. 

Who can obtain Marriage Records in Illinois?

Different types of marriage records are obtainable by different persons in Illinois. For instance, anyone may request marriage verification letters from the Illinois Department of Public Health (for a fee), whereas marriage certificates or certified copies of marriage records maintained by County Clerks are only available to a selected few, such as:

  • The couple mentioned in the record
  • The child of the couple or either party
  • Direct family members
  • Legal representatives or agents of either party in the marriage
  • Others with the couple’s notarized consent

Third-party requesters usually have to provide valid identification, notarized consent, or other documents to prove their relationships or claims to the records. 

Additionally, in line with the Vital Records Act, marriage records that are 75 years or older may be available for public inspection at approved archival sites like the Illinois Regional Archives Depositories or the state’s archive.

Can You Lookup Online Marriage Records For Free in Illinois?

Yes, you can access online marriage records for free in Illinois. This is possible through public marriage or genealogical indexes provided by government agencies, as well as third-party websites. For instance, the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index provides information on marriages in the state between 1763 and 1900. 

Alternatively, interested persons may also consider using reputable third-party sites like as an added tool to get Illinois marriage records. These sites usually have extensive databases and offer an array of tools that help users easily conduct searches and conveniently get results.

Is Illinois a Common Law State for Marriage?

No, Illinois has not recognized common law marriages established within the state since common law marriage was abolished in 1905. Only formally married couples who obtained licenses are recognized as legally married in Illinois. 

Therefore, no matter how long a couple lives together or holds themselves as married, they cannot claim legal protection or marriage rights under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, especially in cases concerning separation, financial support, child support/custody, or property division. The same applies to couples in a domestic partnership or persons living together under a cohabitation agreement in Illinois.

However, in line with the U.S.C. Full Faith and Credit Clause, common-law marriages established in other states that recognize these informal marriages are considered valid in Illinois.

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