Will finding that my husband was not divorced but just legally separated from previous marriage make our marriage legal and valid? 38 Answers as of July 17, 2013

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Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
A legal separation is not divorce, your marriage is invalid.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/1/2012
Bruning & Associates, PC | Mary D. Sump
When two people are legally separated in Illinois, they are only legally separated, and NOT divorced. Therefore, if only legally separated, your husband is still married to his first wife, and your marriage may be invalid.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 7/17/2013
Samwel Cousineau &Shea, PC
Samwel Cousineau &Shea, PC | Kirsten A. Samwel
Bigamy is illegal in Washington. His being married and never divorced prior to marrying you would actually make your marriage void. However, in order to protect yourself, you should go through the process called a Petition for Invalidity of Marriage, that is, if you wish to officially invalidate or make void the marriage. The basis for the invalidity would be that he was already married. If you wish to stay married to him, he needs to finish the divorce from the first wife (or in his case if he is legally separated, go through the required steps to convert his legal separation to a divorce), and then the two of you need to re-marry.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/28/2012
Pollock & Associates LLC | Candice Ragsdale-Pollock, CWL
Not in Utah. Your marriage is null and void due to the continuation of his previous marriage bonds, still in existence at the time you were married.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 6/12/2013
Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
No. If your husband entered the marriage with you before he was divorced, your marriage is void because he did not have the legal capacity to enter a marriage. However, any property acquired during the invalid marriage will likely be treated as community property because you were not aware that the marriage was invalid. If both of you were aware that the marriage was invalid because he was not divorced, a court may treat this differently. He would also be held to be the presumptive father of any children conceived during the invalid marriage.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/28/2012
    Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
    NO.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    A person's failure to complete a divorce terminating a marriage renders a subsequent marriage null and void in Louisiana. A previous marriage is an impediment to getting legally married in Louisiana. The second spouse does not have to file for divorce, the marriage is simply null. Some clients prefer to take action to have a court declare the marriage invalid for purposes of public notice, but it is not necessary. If a person is not aware that their spouse was still married and not divorced, and married that person in good faith, they have rights as a "putative spouse" which may include rights for support and maintenance, and property rights regarding property obtained by that couple. The previous spouse has rights as well, including a continuing interest in community property such as pensions, retirement accounts, etc. The still-married and married again spouse may have criminal liability under the bigamy statutes, and could certainly be divorced for adultery if the second marriage were consummated. A person involved in this relationship, in any of the positions-first spouse, second spouse or twice married spouse should seek legal counsel immediately to sort out their rights and options.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    That would make your marriage bigamous and voidable. He needs to get a divorce if you are remaining married.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2012
    Law Office of Stephen Barker | Stephen Barker
    No. A legal separation is not a divorce. His prior marriage is still valid and he has committed bigamy which is a crime. He needs to file for divorce right now and then you can remarry. An attorney can talk to the county prosecutor, if necessary, and persuade them not to pursue bigamy charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Agron Law Office | Todd N. Agron
    No. A person cannot be married to two people at the same time. A legal separation is just that, a separation. He would have still been legally married making any marriage entered into during the separation void.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    No. Since your husband was not legally divorced when you got married he was still married. That makes your divorce invalid and subject to an annulment. He may also face charges for bigamy.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    No. If you "husband" was still legally married when he married you, your marriage is void.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    No, legal separation divides property but does not restore a person to the status of a single person. A person who has a legal separation judgment is not free to remarry. The separation must be converted to a dissolution.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    No. If he was not legally divorced when you got married, your marriage is null and void. You should consult with an attorney who practices in the county where you reside.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Law Offices of Richard K. Jolliffe | Richard K. Jolliffe
    Your marriage is void from the beginning.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/12/2013
    Lombardi Law LLC
    Lombardi Law LLC | SUZANNE LOMBARDI
    If he was still married at the time he married you, legally separated or not, your marriage can become annulled. You will want to discuss with an attorney what your options are but chances are your marriage is not legally sufficient.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Law Office of Grady G Gauthier | Grady G Gauthier
    If your husband was not divorced at the time of your marriage your marriage is void as a matter of law and you likely can proceed with an annulment rather than a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    If the first marriage was not terminated by a Decree of Dissolution (and a "legal separation" not a termination) makes a second marriage void, and invalid. There is also the prospect of a criminal charge of Bigamy; though prosecutors are unlikely to take action unless there is some financial fraud associated with the actions of the husband.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Graves Law Firm
    Graves Law Firm | Steve Graves
    The fact that your husband was already and still married makes your later marriage illegal and invalid. The more technical term is "void." You can't get married if you're already married. You can have only one spouse at at time.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    No, it will not. If the husband was married at the time he married you the marriage is void. He could be charged with the crime of bigamy. Your marriage is not valid and it could be annulled.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    The Law Offices of Tres A. Porter | Tres A. Porter
    In order to remarry, the previous marriage must be legally dissolved. Legal separation is not the same thing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Your husband was either married or divorced. Being legally separated is not divorced so your marriage will never be valid.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Being legally separated is like being a little bit pregnant: the reality of the situation is not changed. Your husband was still married when he married you if at the time he was only legally separated.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/12/2013
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    If your husband was not divorced, then he was married at the time of your marriage. A legal separation is not a divorce. Since he was married at the time of your marriage, your marriage is void and he could be charged with violation of the bigamy laws.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Attorney at Law | Michael P. Vollandt
    No. He should take care of it and thy to get the judgment nunc pro tunc (make it retroactive)
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    If your husband was not divorced at the time you married, then your marriage is void and not legal. You cannot be married to two people at one time (legal separation is not the same as divorce). That is called bigamy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/26/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 5/22/2013
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    No he is still married so your marriage is not valid it's as though you were never married.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/12/2013
    The Children's Law Group | Tamara Chin
    No your present marriage is not legal.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/12/2013
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