If a man marries a woman who turns out to be already married, is their marriage legal?

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If a man marries a woman who turns out to be already married, is their marriage legal?

The man and woman got married. Her husband then shows up. They were married 19 years before, but she never divorced, not had he. She says she just assumed he was gone for ever. Are the newly weds still legally married?

Asked on July 16, 2019 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If someone remarries under the mistaken belief that they are divorced, it makes no difference. The marriage is void as a matter of law. In other words, legally it is as if it never took place. The still married spouse will need to obtain a divorce and only then are they free to remarry. If they do not want to get remarried, then there is nothing to do as no divorce is required (although filing for an anullment would be advised so as to clear up any legal confusion).

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If someone remarries under the mistaken belief that they are divorced, it makes no difference. The marriage is void as a matter of law. In other words, legally it is as if it never took place. The still married spouse will need to obtain a divorce and only then are they free to remarry. If they do not want to get remarried, then there is nothing to do as no divorce is required (although filing for an anullment would be advised so as to clear up any legal confusion). 


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