What to do if I married before my divorce was finalized?

I too thought my divorce was over at hearing. 6 weeks later I got married to my new wife. We soon left to go overseas (Army). I got the final paperwork months or maybe years later and never paid attention to the divorce date. Well, 33 years later my wife served me with divorce petition (we’re both somewhat okay with it), Last weekend I realized my first divorce wasn’t finalized until about 6 weeks after the date of my new marriage. Is my new marriage valid or void? Am I breaking the law? What happens to house, assets?

Asked on October 16, 2011 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You certainly have some issues to deal with here and you need to consult with an attorney in your area as soon as you possibly can.  Here is what you need to discuss to for forearmed.  First, when you went to remarry did you show proof that the prior marriage was terminated by divorce?  Was the divorce and remarriage in the same state?  Although Florida does not have a waiting period per se for remarriage, at the time you were divorced - even if the judge signed the judgement right then and there in the court room - there could have been a waiting time for either party to appeal.  If that were the case then your divorce may not really have been final as you say (or if the judgement was not submitted at that time but at a later date for signature).  Now, a marriage is considered void if one or both spouses were not unmarried at the time of marriage. A void marriage is one that is invalid from its beginning. It is as though the marriage never existed and it requires no formality to terminate.  And there is really the bottom line here.  Bring all your paperwork to an attorney in your area asap.  Good luck.


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