If 2 people are considered common law married but 1 spouse married someone else, is there a need for a divorce or is the marriage voided?

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If 2 people are considered common law married but 1 spouse married someone else, is there a need for a divorce or is the marriage voided?

Asked on May 13, 2019 under Family Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The answer is that the second "marriage" is void, because you cannot marry person B while still married to person A, and a common law marriage is, for this purpose, a marriage.
That said, in the state's records, there is a marriage license and record of marriage, even though legally it should be void. To eliminate it from the records and avoid confusion or issues down the road, the second marriage should be annulled (not divorced), which will void it from the beginning due to one of the "spouses" being married to someone else.


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