Legal Question in Family Law in California

Married or Not

In 1985, I married my 'current' husband and later we both found out neither of our divorces had been finalized. We have had 2 children since, and have lived as husband and wife. I stayed home and raised our girls while he started up a very successful business, where I now also work. We recently purchased a home together, but most of our other assets are in individual names. We quarreled over the holidays (and have since made up), but he sought the advise of a an attorney who is now instructed him to have papers drawn up to nullify the marriage, have a pre-nup drawn up and 'spousal' rights revoked for me (in other words, if we remarry and eventually divorce, these 11 years wouldn't count). If the marriage was not valid, why does it have to be nullified? Can't we just remarry now to continue with our lives? Please help.

Asked on 1/09/06, 1:27 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Damian Nolan Law Offices of Damian M. Nolan

Re: Married or Not

Please do not rush to sign any documents and do not take the advice of your husband or his attorney.

If indeed, you both thought you were divorced from your prior spouses then you may both be considered to be "Putative" spouses with all the rights of an actual married person. Also, depending on the circumstances,you may both be in a position to file a motion with the court for a judgment "nunc pro tunc" - meaning the judgment could relate back to when you thought your were divorced.

In any event, do not do anything without the advice of counsel. A mistake now may prove to be very costly.

Kind regards,

Damian M. Nolan

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Answered on 1/10/06, 5:52 pm
H.M. Torrey The Law Offices of H.M. Torrey

Re: Married or Not

What you were told is not necessarily true. If you and your husband both had a good faith belief in a void or voidable marriage, the court would deem you both putative spouses legally, which would preserve your rights for the last 11 years, regardless if the marriage was technically "legal" or not. If you need further affordable assistance in this matter, contact us directly for a phone consultation.

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Answered on 1/09/06, 5:29 pm
Brian Levy, Esq. Law Office of Brian Don Levy

Reply: Married or Not

In a general sense, you may qualify as a putative spouse, and have full community property benefits. It is not a good idea to sign documents wihtout being represented by an experienced family law lawyer.

For a specific opinion regarding your individual circumstances, I suggest that you consult with an experienced family law lawyer. Experience is not expensive, it's priceless!

You will find some valuable information on various California family law issues by visiting my web site.

Good luck to you!

Brian Levy, Esq.

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Answered on 1/09/06, 6:07 pm

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