What to do if the man I married 8 years ago wasn’t divorced from his first wife?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What to do if the man I married 8 years ago wasn’t divorced from his first wife?

About 1 1/2 years ago, I learned that my husband was married to woman 43 years ago and never divorced her. Before I could get my bearings, he told me that he was leaving me just as I was going into the hospital. When I got out he was gone. How do I get my maiden name back on all my legal documents? I don’t want to have his name because I see it as a name of shame.

Asked on November 9, 2017 under Family Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since your husband was already married to another woman at the time of your marriage, then in the eyes of the law it is "null and void". This means that legally it is as though it never happened. What you can do now is to file for an annullment. This will help you get your name back and clear up any other legal formalities that may arise.

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