In this article...

In this article we will be discussing Putative Spouse and Their Rights Explained:  

  • What Is a Putative Spouse?
  • What Are Some Ways a Person Becomes a Putative Spouse?
  • Was Your Marriage Ever Valid?
  • What Rights Does a Putative Spouse Have?
  • What Kind of Court Cases Can a Putative Spouse Bring Forward?
  • Is There a Way to Lose Your Rights as a Putative Spouse?
  • What If My Partner Has More Than One Putative Spouse?

In this article we will be discussing Putative Spouse and Their Rights Explained:  

  • What Is a Putative Spouse?
  • What Are Some Ways a Person Becomes a Putative Spouse?
  • Was Your Marriage Ever Valid?
  • What Rights Does a Putative Spouse Have?
  • What Kind of Court Cases Can a Putative Spouse Bring Forward?
  • Is There a Way to Lose Your Rights as a Putative Spouse?
  • What If My Partner Has More Than One Putative Spouse?

In Illinois, marriage is a legal contract between two people that establishes certain rights and privileges to the parties entering that contract. The State of Illinois does place restrictions on the people that may marry each other. If a person is not qualified to enter into a marriage contract or is already bound by marriage to another person, a rare but well-defined circumstance arises. This is known as a Putative Marriage. The invalidity of these putative marriages are often not known until the parties seek a divorce so there are often complicated issues to address in resolving these matters.

What Is a Putative Spouse?

A Putative Spouse is an individual that entered into what they believed to be a valid marriage but that union was actually legally barred from being entered into.  

What Are Some Ways a Person Becomes a Putative Spouse?

Some ways that a person could become a putative spouse are if their partner is already married at the time of their purported union, the parties are related, or one party has not reached the age of consent to be married. Most often there is a technicality in a divorce that proceeding that failed to dissolve a marriage prior to a person entering into a new marriage.

Was Your Marriage Ever Valid?

No, from a legal stand point the marriage was void or voidable from inception. Had the parties had the appropriate information, the union would have never moved forward.

What Rights Does a Putative Spouse Have?

Due to the frequency of these issues and the public policy concerns, the Legislature has deemed it appropriate to grant a putative spouse all the same rights and responsibilities that would be afforded under a valid marriage. These rights include spousal support, child support, and a division of any assets that would otherwise be qualified as marital.

What Kind of Court Cases Can a Putative Spouse Bring Forward?

A Putative Spouse is able to bring any lawsuit that a legal spouse would be entitled to bring. This includes an action for dissolution of marriage or an action in the probate courts to inherit from the decedent estate of a deceased spouse.

Is There a Way to Lose Your Rights as a Putative Spouse?

No, just like a valid spouse your rights are in full effect until such a time as you enter into some type of settlement resolving your rights or a judgment is entered by a judge.

What If My Partner Has More Than One Putative Spouse?

In a situation where there are multiple spouses every person that can make a valid claim against the “marital” property or the decedent’s estate will receive a portion of that property. The judge in this situation will do their best to divide the property equitably amongst any established spouses.

Posted 
April 16, 2021
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