What should I do if I just found out that I wasn’t divorced whenI got “remarried”?

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What should I do if I just found out that I wasn’t divorced whenI got “remarried”?

My son’s mother never went through with the divorce like she said. I married another I didn’t know that I did so illegally. She said she wanted the divorce, she sent papers said I didn’t have to do anything. Haven’t heard anything in 15 years until now. What can I do to make this right?

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Family Law, Oregon

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Oh my goodness.  What you have to do is to go through the entire divorce process with your first wife as soon as you possibly can.  You did not state if the original paperwork sent to you was to be filed in the state of Oregon (which is the state that you have listed here in your question).  Where ever it was filed you should go to the county clerk's office and look to see if there was a proceeding filed and possibly it was listed as abandoned or dismissed based upon abandonment.  It is doubtful that after all this time you could resurrect the paperwork. But you need to make sure that you know the past procedural history for clarity.  Then find a lawyer and get divorced.  And remember: you need to re-marry your present wife, you need to make sure that you re-designate her on any life insurance policies, etc. to make sure that everything you thought was jointly held or being left to her as your spouse is proper legally.  Good luck. 


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