Is my marriage legal ifmy “husband”married me while he was still married to his first wife?

I married my husband and found out he was still married to his first wife. He told me he was divorced. We hired an attorney and filed the divorce. This was done some time ago. Unfortunately now we are going through a separation and probably a divorce. Was my marriage ever legal since he married me while he was still married to his first wife? And what do I do now if it was not, since we have a home together and other debt?

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Family Law, Kansas


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to seek legal help in your area with all of this.  Did you get "re" married after the divorce?  If not then generally speaking your marriage is not valid.  It was never valid.  The debt - the mortgage and the other debt - is still considered to be joint debt but your responsibility to pay it is different and how you hold the home is now different.  For example, husbands and wives generally own homes with "rights of survivorship," meaning that if one of them dies the house passes to the other automatically.  When you are not married the deed has to speciaifaclly state :joint tenancy with rights of survivorship" or you do not have it.  If you signed up for a credit account as joint tenants then you are both liable for the debt.  That may or may not matter in the long run.  Good luck.

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