Is my marriage valid if I re-married thinking that my first husband was dead but he wasn’t?

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Is my marriage valid if I re-married thinking that my first husband was dead but he wasn’t?

I was married 18 years ago and have not seen him in 13 years. I recently married again. I sincerely believe my previous husband to be dead and I thought that under CA law I was free to marry because I haven’t seen him for so long and believe he is dead. I recently found out that under I needed him to be declared dead by the courts. Is that true? If so what can I do now? I don’t want my current marriage to be void.

Asked on August 30, 2011 California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  I can tell that it must be making you very unnerved.  Unfortunately, it is true that you would have to have had your first husband declared dead in order to proceed to remarriage if you really thought he was dead, rather than just divorcing him.  With out getting in to why you came to that conclusion and why now you know otherwise, you have to move to dissolve the marriage as you have technically committed bigamy. And I am sorry to tell you this but the second marriage you have entered in to is void under the law.  Please get some legal help here.  Good luck to you.


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