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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1503
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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My husband's ex wife left him 17 years ago and married

Customer Question

my husband's ex wife left him 17 years ago and married someone else. she lied about getting their marriage annulled, something we have only recently found out. we are now in the process of getting the divorce from her that she should have gotten but didn't. can the divorce date be retroactive? if not, how is our marriage of 10 years affected? thank you for any insight into this matter.
JA: Because family law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Washington state
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: At the start of the process we talked to several who were charging nothing for the 1st 30 min but $2000 for the rest! we can't afford that. there are no children or is there property involved
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: She got her permanent residency from that 2nd marriage. she is divorced from the 2nd husband.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Family Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience. I specialize in family law and appeals, and I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, employment and contract law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.

Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site.

At the end of this session, I will ask you to please rate me as that’s the only way I get credit for helping you today. Thanks! Please note: I want to help you but I may need some additional information from you.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

This question is one I get a lot and it has the same answer no matter what state you're in. Please note I am only the messenger. I know you want the truth, and that you want an honest answer and of course the right answer, so I'm going to give you that okay?

A divorce cannot be retroactive. That just doesn't happen.

Any marriage that happens while the first marriage has not been ended, whether by mistake or intentionally, is void. Therefore your current marriage is not legal and is not valid. It has to be redone after the first marriage is ended. I know -- it really stinks, but it was unintentional and your husband wasn't trying to hurt you or deceive you.

I can answer this for a lot less money than those lawyers were charging!!!! That's absurd.

Here's your answer -- any marriage that happens after the 1st marriage is, by intent or mistake, not ended, is void. Annulment of marriage will not render a "bigamous" or second marriage valid. Even where an annulment decree expressly declares the first marriage null and void, it does not relate back and validate the second marriage. For a subsequent marriage to be valid, there must be a new ceremony following the termination of the earlier marriage.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

You will have to go through another ceremony, whether civil or religious, after the annulment or divorce of the first one goes through. After that, then you can properly marry your current spouse.

Make sure that the first marriage has ended and then he will be free to marry. Best of luck to you!

Does this answer your question? I am more than happy to answer additional questions based on this one if you want.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you. Thanks and thank you for allowing me to help you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you all for your answers. We will remarry as soon as the divorce from the duplicitous first wife has been granted. I'm sad that our ten years together are considered "void" by the legal establishment but I guess that's the way it is. He is a wonderful person and our 10 years together have been very happy. I would marry him 100 times if needed.
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

I know, I'm sorry it happened this way, but he didn't mean to do anything wrong from what you're telling me and it wasn't his fault. It's wonderful that you are both so happy. Best of luck to you!