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Really Married?

Michael-H.-Gora-284x336By Michael H. Gora

Q:   My wife and I were married four years ago.  She was and is a disaster.  I knew that she had been married once before; an hour after our wedding was official, her younger sister accidentally mentioned to me that my new wife had been married twice before our marriage.

I thought it weird that my new wife had lied to me, but did not think about it until I was talking to my divorce lawyer last week.  I asked him whether or not the “lie” could help me in the divorce case since one could say that the marriage was fraudulent.

My lawyer said that it probably would have little effect on the divorce, but suggested that we run a national search to determine how many times she had been married.  Our search uncovered four marriages in three states. I asked him if that could help me and he replied that it would help only if she had forgotten to divorce any of her husbands. He said if we found that my wife was legally married when we married I was “home free.”

Do you agree with his conclusion? If so, why? Was her conduct criminal?


A:    If your lawyers investigation can prove that your wife was still married to another when you and she went through a marriage ceremony, you and she are not lawfully married.  Your marriage would be determined to be “void”, and i f you are not legally married, none of her typical marital rights exist.  She would have no right to alimony, property distribution or right to have you pay, or help pay for the divorce.

The judge would issue a final judgment indicating her non-married status and find that she had no rights.  Your marriage would be void even if the failure to divorce was a mistake, caused by her former husband lying to her about his getting the divorce.

Criminal liability for bigamy would be determined by an investigation by your local police and State’s Attorney.


Michael H. Gora, Boca Raton Divorce Attorney, has been certified by the Board of  Education and Specialization of The Florida Bar as a specialist in family and matrimonial law, and is a partner with Shapiro Blasi Wasserman & Gora P.A. in Boca Raton.  Mr. Gora can be reached at (561)477-7800.

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