What to do if my “husband” is not legally divorced even though his first wife said they wereand now she will not give him one?

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What to do if my “husband” is not legally divorced even though his first wife said they wereand now she will not give him one?

My husband of 20 years and I just found out about 2 months ago, from his first wife, that she never filed for divorce. However she took the money he gave her and left. She now states that she will never divorce him. We have 4 sons and a life. Now we don’t know which direction to go. We have been around her and our children have been around her all these years. She never spoke of it.

Asked on June 27, 2011 under Family Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to speak to a matrimonial or family law attorney IMMEDIATELY. As a general matter, be aware that your marriage may not be legally valid (that is not a statement about it's worth otherwise, and please don't take it as such)--under the law, if someone is stiill married, even if in the process of getting divorced, he or she cannot marry another person. The first marriage must be fully dissolved before a second one can occur.

Of course, your husband should, under these circumstances, be able to divorce the first wife fairly quickly; once divorced, you should be able to remarry  quickly; in the meantime, you could execute documents like health care proxies and powers of attorney to make sure you have most of the rights of a married couple; you may have to deal with issues like health insurnance and tax filings.

However, again, the above is just a general answer, that in principal, if A is still married to B, a later marriage to C is not valid. However, every case is different, and it's possible there are exceptional circumstances here. That's why you should consult with a lawyer right away, and good luck.


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.

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