Legalities of Destination Weddings

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyIt is estimated that over 2.4 million people or 25 percent of all couples planning a wedding will opt for a destination wedding. As this popular trend continues to establish itself as a romantic and affordable option by economically combining both the wedding and honeymoon, it also provides family members and guests with a well-deserved mini-vacation. Studies also prove that couples who spend less on their wedding lessen their odds of facing a future divorce.

As you may guess, the most popular foreign wedding destinations include white sand beaches, tropical trade winds and the promise of endless summer. Tropical wedding destinations have not only remained the leader in destination weddings but account for six of the top ten wedding destination sites.

  1. Mexico;
  2. Jamaica;
  3. Dominican Republic;
  4. Bahamas;
  5. Hawaii;
  6. United States Virgin Islands;
  7. Aruba;
  8. Fiji;
  9. Cruise Ships; and
  10. Europe.

If you are currently planning a destination wedding in one of these foreign countries, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs would like to remind you that research should be part of the wedding planning process.

The Department’s Marriage Abroad page, (located at, provides some insight as to what you may need to know.

It is important to note that U.S. embassy or consulate personnel are not permitted to perform civil unions in foreign countries. In the majority of countries local or religious officials are required to perform the ceremonies as marriages are then valid within the foreign country with validity in the U.S. dependent upon the laws of each individual state.

It is also important to plan ahead. Laws and procedures vary from country to country and some countries require specific procedures and preparation such as:

  • Specific residency periods;
  • Age requirements and parental consent laws;
  • Blood tests;
  • Witness requirements;
  • Proof of previous relations and dissolution of those relationships;
  • Affidavits or eligibility to marry; and
  • Notarization and translation of all documents.

It is also suggested that research be conducted on the validity of your marriage within you home state. Often additional documentation will be required and it is suggested that you contact the attorney general’s office of your state of residence for more information.

If you reside in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall or Will Counties and find that the sun-kissed memories of your destination wedding are currently foreshadowed by the darkening skies of divorce, you may have questions regarding your legal rights under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5). The experienced Hinsdale divorce attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio can help. With over 75 years of combined legal experience, our legal team is dedicated to providing exceptional legal counsel with integrity and compassion. Contact us at 630-920-8855 to schedule your initial consultation today.


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