If I married ny husband befor his divorce from his first wife was final, are we legally married?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If I married ny husband befor his divorce from his first wife was final, are we legally married?

I married my husband 34 years ago, in March, but his divorce wasn’t fiinal until May of that year. We have 3 children from our marriage; our firstborn died last year of cancer. Is our Will not valid or home/bonds that we own together not legal? Can this be fixed by getting remarried? Our kids don’t even know of his first marriage and the 2 kids that he had before he met me. I am so ashamed and afraid to tell anyone. How can we privately get married and not let our family know?

Asked on September 26, 2012 under Family Law, Florida

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You technically have a void marriage which could be considered an illegal marriage, but this doesn't mean that everything between the two of you is completely void.  Florida case law has recognized a principal of equitable estoppell-- which means that the courts would recognize your marriage because of the length of time that you and your husband have lived and cohabitated as a husband and wife.    So, if either of you filed for divorce (just by way of example), then everything you have done together would stand. 

You also raise a question about your will and your property.  Your will is not affected by the marriage or lack thereof unless for some reason your will has some contingency paragraph about the absence of a marriage.  Most wills identify beneficiaries specifically by name (i.e. "Jane Doe"), not generically by title (i.e. "my wife, my sone").  As long as your will and any other legal documents specify you by name, you'll be okay as far as the legality of the document. 

If you can go get remarried, it would make things a lot simpler later on.  Not to joke about your situation, but Vegas is always a good option-- because what happens there usually stays there.  Have a second honeymoon and marriage like the first answer suggests and then just keep going on with your marriage.  It's an amazing thing to be married that long.  Don't let this issue stress you when it's such an easy fix. 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country if you married your current husband before his divorce was finalized from his prior spouse then your marriage is not technically valid.

To resolve the issue I suggest that you and your "husband" go away without anyone knowing and get "married" legally somewhere. Celebrate your anniversary as though the first marriage between you two was legally valid.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption