What do I do if I recently found out that my divorce papers from over 20 years ago were never officially filed and I now have another spouse?

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What do I do if I recently found out that my divorce papers from over 20 years ago were never officially filed and I now have another spouse?

My ex and I married very young and due to infidelity we broke up. We didn’t have anything to split between the 2 of us, so we decided on a uncontested divorce. Being so young and due to the circumstances of how we separated I wanted nothing more to do with him. Since we were in different states, he was supposed to ensure that after signing the paperwork it would be filed appropriately. I need to find out what I can do to finally rectify this situation as I have since moved on and am currently married (or so I thought)?

Asked on March 4, 2012 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

Barton R. Resnicoff

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should have the first marriage terminated and take what ever steps are necessary to accomplish that.  You can do it whether you know where husband #1 is or not, although it would be better if he cooperated with it.  Your current marriage is void as, even though you weren't aware of it, you were married to someone else.  It should be dissolved also and a new marriage entered into(which can be done privately, if it will avoid any embarassment).  Even though the current marriage is void, the financial issues(or those involving children)really have not changed because of it, although an agreement confirming everything would not be inappropriate.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You need to seek help from an attorney right way.  If the papers were never fled 20 years ago they are going to have to be redone now.  There is no way around that.  And your new marriage is void - not legal at all.  You can file the paperwork for dissolution in the state in which you now reside as long as you meet the residency requirements.  Just find your first husband and get things rolling.  Good luck.


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