My wife was not divorced when we got married. Do I need to file any papers to consider myself single?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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My wife was not divorced when we got married. Do I need to file any papers to consider myself single?

We were married in February 2008…I want to get divorced now
but I found out that she was not divorced from her previous
husband until May 2009.

Asked on January 12, 2018 under Family Law, Oregon


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Since your wife was legally married to someone else at the time of your "marriage", then you were never husband and wife in the eyes of the law. In other words, your union is null and void. Accordingly, there since there is no valid marriage, there is no need to get a divorce. That having been said, since there may be legal formalties to clear up, you can and should file for an annullment.

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 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.

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