How to get a divorce, if husband is not in the country?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How to get a divorce, if husband is not in the country?

I was not aware that he was married at the time we got married. After we married his first wife passed away in a car wreck. We returned to his country to care of his kids, only to find out that he never divorced that wife. I am now told that he married again.

Asked on April 6, 2016 under Family Law, Tennessee


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that since your "husband" was married to another woman at the time of your "marriage", it was never legal. In other words, it is null and void. A divorce ends a valid marriage, since you never had one, divorce is not the correct option here. In fact, you could choose to do nothing as you are a single woman rights  now. That having been said, in order to clarify your legal position, you may want to proceed forward with an annulment. Also, there are steps that can be taken when a spouse is in another country, and even if they cannot be located. You can google your state name and the words "divorce by publication" and "divorce by default"; this will provide you with more information. Since this can all get a bit complicated, you really should consider consulting directly with a local divorce attorney who also handles annulments. They can best advise you further. 

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 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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