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How to Find Illinois Marriage Records

Marriage in Illinois, also called matrimony, is a legal affair that produces a marriage record which states that two people have entered into a contract to share their lives together. As defined by Illinois state standards, determined benefits are shared between the two. Marriage records are considered public records in this state, and it is possible that members of the public can view and obtain copies of marriage licenses and marriage certificates. Marriage records can be utilized for different purposes. This being said, not all forms of marriage records are the same and it is important for requesting parties to know the differences between them in order to achieve their goals.

Are Illinois Marriage Records Public?

While Illinois Marriage Records are public, they represent some of the most difficult records to obtain due to the personal nature of the information within. Government organizations often offer marriage verification letters rather than the original marriage records because marriage records must remain intact and unchanged with regard to the people involved in the marriage. If changes need to be made, these records are critical to that procedure.

Third party organizations also may have these records, but because of the difficulty in finding and obtaining marriage records, availability may vary or not exist.

Family Court Records can include marriage records and divorce records. These records contain personal information of those involved and their maintenance is critical should anyone involved wish to make changes. Because of this both marriage and divorce records can be considered more difficult to locate and obtain than other public records, and may not be available through government sources or third party public record websites.

Where to Find Free Illinois Marriage Records

It is not possible to obtain marriage records that are completely free, but there are ways to access and view copies of marriage records with a small search fee. These documents will not be the real original record, but uncertified copies of them. Copies of marriage records, both certified and uncertified, are available through the Illinois county clerk in the county where the marriage has happened. It is also possible to obtain a marriage verification through the Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Vital Records, but do note that these records are not to be substituted for certified license or certification. The fee for a verification through the DPH DVR is $5 and can be solicited by mail, by fax, or in person.

How Do I Get My Marriage Certificate in Illinois?

Verification letters that a marriage has occurred are more readily available and cheaper than obtaining a certified marriage certificate. These can be obtained through the Illinois Department of Public Health Division of Vital Records for a relatively small fee. It is difficult to obtain a marriage certificate, but a copy of a marriage certificate can be obtained at the county clerk in the Illinois county where the marriage took place. To begin a request, fill out an application for a certified copy of a marriage certificate, which can be obtained in the county clerk's office or online. If an application is not available, it may be possible to request the certification in a written form, typically including the following information:

  • The full name of the couple, as it appears on the marriage license or other spouses’ identification
  • The date range or exact date that the marriage happened
  • The county or city where the marriage license was given
  • The date of birth of both of the two people in marriage
  • The age of the two spouses at the time of marriage

Along with this, provide a valid government-issued identification, including a driver’s license, a state issued photo identification, or a passport. Requesting parties without a photo identification must provide two pieces of confirmation with their name. One must have their current address listed, and one must be one of the following:

  • Medical or car insurance card
  • Car registration
  • Credit, debit card, or bank card statement
  • Complete paystub
  • Public assistance card
  • Voter’s registration card
  • Military identification
  • Illinois Electronic Benefit Transfer Card

The fees for a marriage certificate vary depending on the county that the marriage took place and the request is in. Mail or fax this information to the county clerk, or visit them in person.

What are Illinois Marriage Records?

A full marriage record in Illinois contains a Marriage Certificate and the Marriage Licenses granted before the marriage took place. Essentially, this is a legal statement that declares that two people have entered into a marital union. The forms that these records hold can be employed for varying causes, and for legal use, it is necessary to know the different functions of each one.

Both government websites and organizations may offer divorce and marriage records. Similarly, third party public record websites can also provide these types of records. But because third party organizations are not operated or sponsored by the government, record availability may vary. Further, marriage and divorce records are considered highly private and are often sealed, meaning availability of these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

What are Illinois Marriage Licenses?

A marriage license is required for any couple to get married. In Illinois, the marriage laws vary depending on which county the marriage license is being obtained. Typically, both parties must be 18 years or older, not be related, and not be currently in another marriage. However, there are exceptions to these limits. Couples who are first cousins, but over 50 years of age, may get married. Couples who are 16 or 17 may also get a marriage license if they have parental consent. For this to happen, parents of both parties must appear in person, provide sworn consent and valid identification. The couple must provide their certified copies of their birth certificates and a second form of government issued identification that states their date of birth. State law also asserts that couples must wait at least one day after receiving a marriage licence to legally marry.

Couples applying for a marriage license are required to appear together at the county clerk's office. They can fill out an application for a marriage licence at the office, or find it online through the county clerk's website and bring it into the office. The steps following the application are:

  • Present valid identification (listed above) with proof of age.
  • Pay the marriage license fee (varies by county)

How to Change Your Name After Marriage in Illinois

Newlyweds who want to change their name after marriage in Illinois legally must wait at least two weeks to do it. This delay is due to the time taken for the County Clerk's office to issue a marriage certificate. Once the newlyweds receive their certificate and additional certified copies, they may begin using their new name or sending out their name change applications.

The first place a newlywed must visit for a name change after marriage is the Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Interested persons must first apply for a change with the SSA as their social security number is a prerequisite for changing other official documents. They must download and complete the social security card request form and attach a certified copy of their marriage certificate and a state-issued photo ID. Applicants may submit the complete package in person or by mail and can expect a new social security card in two to three weeks.

When the subject of a name change after marriage receives a new social security card, they can visit their local DMV to request a new driver's license. They must take their current driver's license, a copy of their marriage certificate, and social security card. The DMV will charge a fee for the new license and issue a new one immediately. Parties who travel will also need to update their international passport. Depending on how long they've had their passport, they will need to fill and submit DS-11, DS-82, or DS-5504. Applicants must attach their current passport, a certified copy of their marriage certificate, two current passport photos, and the application fee. The passport office will send their updated passports in 5 to 6 weeks.

What are Illinois Marriage Certificates?

An Illinois Marriage Certificate is a document typically provided to a couple after they have become married. Unlike a marriage license, they do not state the right of a couple to be married, but are legal proof that the marriage has already happened. The process to attain a Marriage Certificate is outlined above. Request parties must fill out an application to view these documents and submit it to the county clerk's office. Again, if an application is not accessible from the office or online, requesting parties can submit the request in written form with all necessary information.

How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Marriage Certificate in Illinois

There is no state-wide portal or service for obtaining a Marriage Certificate in Illinois, so requesting parties are required to visit the county clerk’s office in the specific county where the marriage took place. The price of these records will vary depending on which county they are being obtained from.