Legal Question in Social Security Law in Illinois

am i entitled to my common law husband of 17 years pension /social security benifits?

Asked on 1/03/12, 8:03 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

The following information was taken from the Social Security website:

"Recognizing common law marriage

Updated 12/15/2011 09:37 AM | ID# 296

Does Social Security recognize common law marriage for the purpose of paying survivors and spouse's benefits?

"Social Security follows the laws of the state where the worker was residing at the time of death or the place where the worker is residing when the spouse applies for benefits. In order for a common law marriage to be valid, it must have been contracted in a state where common-law marriages are recognized.

"Many states do not honor common-law marriages, so you should check local laws. However, most states (even those in which a man and woman could not enter into a valid common-law marriage) will generally recognize a common-law marriage validly entered into in another state. Again, check local laws.

Illinois does NOT recognize common law marriages, period. Not in-state, and not out of state. Unless you want to tie the knot here, you'd have to reside in a State that recognizes common law marriages, and (a) there aren't that many anymore and (b) there's no telling whether that could change there too.

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Answered on 1/04/12, 7:26 am

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