Is the bigamous marriage a legal issue? 2 Answers as of March 21, 2011

This is a tricky one to challenge you dealing with bigamous activity. Facts: Married a American girl in Jamaica January 2008, and signed all the legal paperwork, supplied by the vicar. We were living in California at the time. She had a marriage of convenience in place that was not annulled until May of 2008. I never registered the Jamaican marriage certificate in CA. We both live in NJ now, and an unrelated case is being tried there. Question: Is this still a bigamous issue? One lawyer that I talked to stated: "I am not so concerned about the possible bigamous marriage situation. The statute of limitations in California for bigamy is 1 year from the date of the second marriage and if a bigamous marriage did occur, the second marriage is considered null and void." I am using this point as ammo to negate another issue, and want to see if it has any validity to bring it up.

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Whereas you can't be married to two people at the same time, if your wife's prior "marriage of convenience" was annulled, it may have been annulled "ab intio", i.e., from the time of its inception. Get a copy of your wife's Annulment judgment, and find out what the law was of the state in which she got her annulment, i.e., whether an annulment nullifies the marriage back to the date of the marriage, or only as to the date when the annulment was granted. If that law nullifies the prior marriage back to the date of that marriage, your marriage to your wife is likely valid. If that law nullifies the prior marriage only as of the date the annulment was granted, your marriage to your wife can be annulled by the Court. Just to be safe, you should file for annulment AND dissolution of marriage, so that if you are denied an annulment, you won't have to file another case to divorce her, but you would be able to proceed to get a divorce in the same case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
I cannot speak to the law in New Jersey, but there is no status of limitations on a bigamous marriage. If you are previously married, you cannot marry another person until you are divorced. Doing so creates a void marriage. It isn't voidable, in that the parties can cure it by mutual agreement. It is as if the subsequent marriage never took place.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2011
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