If my divorce from my first husband never finalized, have we still been legally married for the last 40 years?

He went on to marry divorce 2 other women. I have been “married” to the same man for 36 years and we have 2 grown children. I just found out my first husband died 2 years ago and I want to re-marry my current husband. We are both over 60 years old and this is rather tramatic. I don’t know how to proceed because I have no divorce papers to get a new marriage license. Do I need a death certificate for my first husband?

Asked on June 7, 2012 under Family Law, Tennessee


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for yuor situation.  If you were never legally divorced from your first husband then yes, you were not legally married to your second hisband.  I would seek legal help not only about remarriage but about making sure that your other documentation  - such as a Will or deeds - are also valid at this point in time and what you need to do regarding them.  Also check beneficiary designation forms (re-designate each other on those) and joint accounts.  I would try and obtain a copy of his death certificate.  Good luck.

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