Can you get remarried if you are legally separated? 10 Answers as of March 28, 2011

I have been dating a woman for about a year and a half. She is legally separated from her husband, and has been for 5 years. The only reason they didn't get divorced was so that she could stay on his health plan. We want to get married, and she says that a legal separation is the same as a divorce, so legally we should be able to marry. However, I thought that people had to be completely divorced before they got remarried. Is it necessary for her to get a divorce, or can we get remarried if she is legally separated from her ex? Thank you.

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Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
You may NOT get married to a legally separated person. The legally separated person is still married, and must file a new case for Dissolution of Marriage, or the subsequent marriage will be unlawful, and void/voidable.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/28/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
A person who is legally separated cannot remarry. If you want to remarry, you must be divorced or widowed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/28/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
The answer is no. A Judgment of Legal Separation does almost all that a Judgment of Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage) does, except the parties remain to each other. If your girl friend has a Judgment of Legal Separation, she remains married to her husband, and she will need to get a Divorce before she will be free to marry again.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/28/2011
Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP
Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP | Hal D. Bartholomew
Under California law, a decree of legal separation is not the same as a dissolution of marriage. She is still married. She must file for a dissolution of marriage and go through the appropriate steps to be restored to the status of an unmarried person. It will be a minimum of six months. She should consult with an attorney to help guide her through all the steps and paperwork it will take to become unmarried. If the two of you marry before the divorce action is completed you would be in a bigamous relationship.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/28/2011
Michael Rose Attorney at Law
Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
She needs to get divorce before getting married. When she divorces she will be off the health plan.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/28/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    She needs to be legally divorced. A separation is just that...separated. She can file for divorce and seek a "status" order so that she can then remarry, even if the divorce is still proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/28/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    A person needs to get divorced before they can legally remarry. Being separated is not sufficient. The woman you are dating is misinformed. If she gets remarried before getting a judgment of dissolution (i.e., divorced), then she is committing bigamy, which is a crime in California.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/28/2011
    Goldberg Jones
    Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
    You are right and she is wrong. She cannot marry you without divorcing her husband. To do so would be bigamy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/28/2011
    Law Office of John C. Volz
    Law Office of John C. Volz | John C. Volz
    No, you cannot get married to someone if they are married to someone else. A legal separation has many of the same effects as a divorce, however you are still married and cannot remarry someone else. She would need to get a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/28/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You cannot get remarried if you she is not divorced. She is still married and cannot get remarried.

    There needs to be a legal divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/28/2011
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