I was recently involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, since it was my first accident, I was scatter-brained and anxious. What I did not realize at the time was that the actions you take immediately after the accident can affect a personal injury case and the outcome of that case. I wanted to find a way to share my experiences and mistakes with other. Since the Internet is so popular, I figured this would be a great way to do so. While you likely aren't planning on being in an accident soon, if you are, hopefully you remember some of the tips I share on this website.
Bigamy occurs when one person legally marries two people. While a person can informally
Annulment vs. Divorce
The legal options available to you for ending the marriage will depend on whether you are the first or second spouse in this situation. The first spouse is the only one who has a valid marriage to the perpetrator. Therefore, this person is the only one with the right to file for and be granted a divorce from the individual. The divorce will proceed as normal with child support, child custody, and property divisions being decided based on the laws of the state where the person lives.
Unfortunately for the second spouse, his or her marriage to the perpetrator is not valid, so the individual has no spousal rights. For this person, annulment is the only remedy available for formally dissolving the relationship. An annulment basically treats the marriage as though it never occurred, and the court's goal in this situation is to restore both parties to the same state they were in before they entered the marriage. For example, each person would keep the assets he or she brought into the relationship rather than be ordered to give the other spouse a share.
While annulment is a good option for people who have only been together for a short time, thus likely haven't mixed their assets in any significant way, it can be problematic for people who have been married for long periods of time and/or have accumulated a considerable amount of shared assets and debt.
In some states, the law does allow the second spouse to recover some community assets using the property division laws usually only available to legal spouses. For example, if you meet the definition of a putative spouse in Texas, the court may award you a share of the "marital" property you and your spouse accumulated together or make the person pay you for your share in said property. However, the window of opportunity to make this claim in family court is limited, so you'll need to file as soon as possible after discovering your marriage was invalid.
If your state doesn't have similar laws, then your only option to recover community property would be to file a civil lawsuit against your ex-spouse. The court will decide who gets what based on regular property laws rather than marital laws.
Extricating yourself from a bigamous relationship can be complex. Contact a divorce attorney for assistance with protecting your assets and getting a fair settlement in the separation. To find out more, visit a website like http://leifericksonlawoffice.net.