Following Your Destination Wedding: How to Record Your Marriage Certificate in Illinois

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyIn April of 2016, the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio posted a blog article on the legalities of destination weddings. Within the post, it was noted just how important it is to research your destination of choice and to become familiar with the legal requirements before beginning the wedding planning, but once home, how does one register their foreign marital certificate with their state of residence?

First, the question of the validity of the marriage may cross your mind but, in general, if the marriage does not break any federal or state law, generally they are legally binding both in the country of origin and in your resident state.

For those still in the planning stages of a destination wedding, it is advisable to contact the office of the Attorney General of your state of residence to ensure that your marital status will be recognized before choosing any of these top 10 wedding destination countries or venues:

  • Mexico;
  • Jamaica;
  • Dominican Republic;
  • Bahamas;
  • Hawaii;
  • United States Virgin Islands;
  • Aruba;
  • Fiji;
  • Cruise ships; and
  • Europe.

For those living in Illinois, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/201) states that a marriage between two people which has been licensed, solemnized and registered as a civil union in a foreign country is recognized under Illinois law. To file your marriage certificate with the state of Illinois, there are certain procedures and protocol which must be followed.

Within 45 days of the civil union, present a copy of your marriage certificate to your jurisdiction's county clerk who in turn will provide the documentation and all supporting information to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Once a return of such marriage is recorded, the IDPH will record the provided information:

  • Personal information for both parties entered into an Illinois marriage application.
  • Date and location of the civil ceremony.
  • Marriage license number or recorded identification number.

As future reference, the Division of Vital Records, under the direction of the Illinois Department of Public Health, does not house marriage records. If a future certified copy of the marriage certificate is required, a certified copy is available through the county clerk office in the county of residence at the time of the recorded civil union.

In the event of verification, the IDPH can verify that a marriage is recorded and can provide the names, dates of birth, date of the event, and the location of the event.

If you reside in DuPage or Cook Counties and it has been decades since you recorded your destination wedding under the guidelines of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/201) but are now seeking legal advice for divorce proceedings under the same Act, contact the experienced Hinsdale divorce attorneys of Martoccio & Martoccio. To learn more about our legal services, contact us today to schedule your no-charge initial consultation.


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