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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34560
Experience:  16 yrs. of experience including family law.
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my question is complex i was married in 2008 and I and my husband

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my question is complex i was married in 2008 and I and my husband have just recently found that he is still married in another state (Tenn) which was done in 1998. Is our marriage still legal for alabama which is where we were married. what needs to be done at this point?
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

Ma'am, I am sorry to have to bear bad news. Your marriage is "void" under Alabama law.

Specifically, what you describe is Bigamy: At the time of the marriage, one of the parties is still married to another person the marriage is void and an annulment is proper. So the fact he was married to someone else when your marriage was entered into makes your marriage void.

Now...that does not necessarily mean that he is criminal liable (that he would be convicted of the criminal offense of bigamy). The crime of bigamy is found in the Code of Alabama, 1975, 1975, section 13A-13-1 and states that: "A person commits bigamy when he intentionally contracts or purports to contract a marriage with another person when he has a living spouse. So to convict of the crime, they would have to prove that he knew the prior marriage was still valid and married you regardless.

What you describe, it sounds like this was a mistake...if so it is not a crime and I would not expect criminal prosecution.

But it will cause your current marriage to be void.

Because it is void, you can apply for an annulment. It will be granted. You would file this with the local court. Once that is complete, you can remarry and continue on with your life. I do not expect this will have any other impacts (since this was an error, it would not impact your stake in marital property or any other marital issues.

Please let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

For the last for years we have been living as married even fileing taxes together i carry his name. How will this affect me in the long run? Will i need an attorney to file an annulment?

Can you tell me, is the goal to remarry?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, but what if not can you explain please?

Thank you

I ask about if the intent is to remarry...since if you do? This really is no more than a "bump in the road"

Again, I am assuming this was an error on his part (and not planned). Since that is the case, if you annul your current marriage and then remarry? As far as your marriage goes, this will not be an issue.

There is a have to file for annulment. There is some cost associated with this. You can "do it yourself" and save money on a lawyer (so you just pay the filing fees). You can work with a service Like this one and pay the cost for the service, which is typically much less than hiring a lawyer but requires you to do some of the work (like filing the documents). Or you can hire a lawyer and let them do all the work.

Then there is a cost to remarry (for the certificate and to pay the officiant if they charge).

But if you agree? You can be through this and remarried in a matter of weeks.

Now...if you do not agree to remarry...or can not agree to annul? Then it can get complex. Quick.

I suspect you have a good deal of property tied up in your marriage. If you can not agree to remarry, in order to recoup your share of the property you acquired together, you may have to sue him. There would be a cost here as well (to hire the attorney to sue him). But you have recourse...since this was not your fault, the law is on your side if you have to fight to protect any property you have a right to based on the fact you thought your marriage was valid.

But if you are working together to fix this problem ? Easy...get an annulment, then remarry...then you are set.

Next year, when you file your taxes you can send a copy of the annulment order in with your explanation on what happened...the IRS is not going to make you redo taxes at this point since when you filed you had a good faith belief you were married.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

ok great but the first marriage the one that took place in
Tenn but they lived together a short while here in alabama what needs to be done with that one?

Thank you

They need to end that marriage. He will need to get a divorce. Once he is divorced? Then you and he can remarry.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

we don't have children involved. Would i be able to receive alimony if given any problems?

Potentially, yes. Since this was not a problem created by you, the court can treat your marriage as valid for the purpose of awarding support. HOWEVER, if you think this may be needed (that you may have to apply for spousal support) you should seek the guidance of an attorney now, prior to seeking annulment.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If we choose to remarry how long will we have to waite after 1st marriage has ended with a divorce? And an annulment for our marriage? How soon can we remarry?

You can marry right after the original marriage is dissolved and the current marriage is annulled. So I would file for divorce right away (for the original marriage) and follow that with filing for annulment. Once both are complete, you can remarry.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How long does it usually take to complete these?

The annulment would typically be quick..a few months from the time you file.

Divorce is longer. If she is available is cooperates with the can be done in 6 months or so. If she refuses to cooperate? That can delay the process and it could take a year or more.

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