If a person gets a divorce but only after they have re-married, is the subsequent marriage legal?

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If a person gets a divorce but only after they have re-married, is the subsequent marriage legal?

Friend got married on 0811/06; then married to different man on 11/12/09. The divorce was granted from first marriage in 03/10. Then married a 3rd husband in 09/10. Is either the 2nd or 3rd marriage legal?

Asked on February 3, 2011 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is a complicated situation but the answer is easy - you cannot not marry someone if your are legally married to someone else.  Just because you obtain a divorce doesn't make a re-marriage legal if you were not divorced at the time the marriage ceremony was performed.  Divorce is not retroactive.  Accordingly, the second divorce was not legal. However since the first divorce happened before the third marriage (in reality the second marriage), then that marriage is valid as long as all state waiting requirements regarding re-marriage were met.


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