If my “husband” was not legally divorced when we got married, what is our legal status?

Get Legal Help Today

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If my “husband” was not legally divorced when we got married, what is our legal status?

Me and boyfriend have been in relationship for 9 years. He was told by a sister of his ex-wife in 2003 that their father had paid for her to divorce him. In 2010 my boyfriend and I got married presuming he was divorced. He has had no contact or knowledge of the ex until 3 days after we married, claiming she was still married to him. Since she deserted him in 2001 and was in fact making it a point not to be found is our marriage still legal or do we have to wait for her to finally divorce him (she has filed) and then re-marry.

Asked on July 18, 2011 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In the United States, you cannot be married to two people at the same time. That means that while married to one--even if you think you are divorced--you cannot marry a second person, and your marriage to the second person will be void. So, yes, you have to wait for the divorce (he can divorce her, by the way, if she is taking too long) and then remarry. In the meantime, you may wish to draw up powers of attorney, health care directives or proxies, and wills naming each other, to give you at least some of the rights and protections which a married couple enjoys simply by virtue of being married. Most attorneys should be able to help you with that, though a trusts and estates lawyer would be the best choice. There are also other issues you need to consider and address:

* If you one of you is on the other's health plan as spouse, that may not be legal and you may lose coverage.

* There may be problems if you have filed taxes jointly, as a married couple.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption