I just found out that my husband of 10 years is not divorced from his first wife, what are my legal options?

I have been in touch with the first wife and confirmed that she was never granted a divorce and never filed anywhere else. He says that I am wife number 4. We have 2 children and a house together. He is abusive and I no longer want to be married to him. Should I have him arrested? Am I still married? Can I get something from the court saying that we’re no longer married? What should I do next?

Asked on July 22, 2010 under Family Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) You were never married, if he was still married--in U.S. law, someone may only be married to one person at a time, and any subsequent marriages (while the person is married) are void.

2) Bigamy is crime, if done knowingly; you could report him to the policy.

3) Your children will still be entitled to child support, and joint property needs  to be divided in some equitable fashion. It is possible, however, that you may not be eligible for  alimony or support, inasmuch as you were never married.

4) However, if he know he was married, you may be able to sue him for fraud.

I urge you to speak with a family or matrimonial attorney immediately.


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