Can a second marriagebe legal and valid even thougha divorcefor a first marriagedivorce was not final?

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Can a second marriagebe legal and valid even thougha divorcefor a first marriagedivorce was not final?

Asked on August 5, 2010 under Family Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortuately, no--in the United States, a person may only be married to one person at a time. Ergo, if marriage one was still in existence--such as if a pending divorce had not yet been finalized--then marriage two is void. If someone, even if the best  of intentions and misunderstanding the paperwork, got "married" while still married to someone else, that second marriage is not valid. This means even if the divorce from the first marriage was later finalized, the person would have to "re-marry" his or her second spouse to actually be married to him or her...though, certainly, a modest, quick civil ceremonty (e.g. town hall) would suffice for this purpose.


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