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San Jose Divorce Attorney Discusses Bigamy

San Jose Divorce Attorney Discusses Bigamy

Everyone’s heard of bigamy, its being married to two people simultaneously. But what people don’t know is that a bigamous marriage is a marriage which is void from the start, i.e. never a valid marriage. What does this mean? It means there’s no need for a divorce, because instead the second marriage will be nullified.

Recently, I encountered a case where a young man married a young woman. After they split up, his suspicions were aroused by some of her behavior and he discovered she had been and likely still was married to someone else. Knowingly marrying someone while married to someone else is bigamy.

California Family Law provides that the bigamous marriage is void, unless the former husband or wife (i) is absent, and not known to the person to believing for the period of five successive years immediately preceding the subsequent marriage, or (ii) is generally reputed or believed by the person to be dead at the time the subsequent marriage was contracted. In the case above, there was no evidence to suggest the husband was dead or even absent.

Interestingly, a recent case out of the Palm Springs area indicates that a woman was married to a man, and got divorced in Mexico. She subsequently married another man, and they are now in the process of splitting up. Turns out that Mexican law requires at least one party to be a legal resident of the state when obtaining a divorce in Mexico, or else it is invalid. The woman’s divorce in Mexico was not valid there and not valid here in California, so she was still legally married to her first husband at the time she married her second husband.

We don’t encounter too many cases of bigamy, but we do handle all other types of divorces, annulments, custody and paternity proceedings. So if you or someone you know are considering one of the above actions, or maybe you are already involved in one, our experienced, thoughtful and talented attorneys at Sagraia Law can assist you. We offer a free consultation, either in person or over the phone, at any of our five locations: San Jose, Fremont, Monterey, San Mateo and Salinas. We accept cases from all over the Greater Bay Area, and we have a variety of attorneys to meet your needs. Call today to schedule your free consultation!

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