Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My husband was already married. . .

My husband and I live in California. I did not know it, but he married me while he was still legally married to his first wife. I only learned about his first marriage when the woman he is now living with started spreading rumors about it. What is my stand as far as taking legal actions against bigamy. What is the legality of our marriage?
-JL in Santa Rosa

Dear JL-
Your marriage is invalid if your husband was married to someone else while married to you. This is called bigamy and means you were never properly married. While bigamy is a crime in the state of California, it is rarely prosecuted.

More importantly, your marriage is void and you need to file an annulment. You, however, are what is called a "putative wife." This means that because you attempted to marry your husband in good faith, you are still entitled to one-half of any property aquired during the marriage, and you are still entitled to spousal support if you need it. You should contact a family law attorney in your area!
-- Famularo & Associates

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