Regarding a divorce decree…

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Regarding a divorce decree…

I saw on the court website that the final documents were returned to
the attorney. They needed to supply the court with addressed
envelopes to me, so that the court could send me my final divorce
decree. I contacted the family law court clerk, and asked her that
when the attorney supplied the envelopes, would the court then send
me the final documents. She said yes they would. I also contacted
the attorneys office, and they said they were taking care of this
matter. Figuring that the final decree was on its way, I married my
girlfriend two days later. The next week, I called back to the court
clerk to follow up on this matter, and was told they were still
waiting for the envelopes from the attorneys office. I then asked if
I could supply those envelopes to close this matter, and that’s when
the clerk informed me that the judge hadn’t yet signed the
documents. I was stunned, as the clerk, and attorneys office,
never indicated that was the case when I first contacted them. So
now my marriage is void, and my girlfriend has gone through all of
the processes to change her name. My question is, where do I go from
here?

Asked on June 4, 2016 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The name change should be legal: you can change your name with or without being married. What you need to do is to contact a family law attorney to help you disentangle this. In theory, it should be as easy as "re-marrying" once the first divorce is final; in practice, if they have you on file as having already married, even if that marriage is legally void, then you may have difficulty getting them to file and accept the "re-marriage." You need to get the void marriage itself properly voided (possibly annuled) so as to then legally marry your girlfriend. You are allowed to do this yourself--you are not required to have an attorney--but having a lawyer will make things go much quicker and smoother, and will give you more confidence that everything is done properly.


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