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Can I get married?

Denver, CO |

I am with a woman and me and her have had a child together. I was married to a woman 4 years ago and she left me and moved to another state. She will not take any action to file a divorce in the state she lives in(Oklahoma) where we got married. I sent her papers, but she is just keeping them on her desk, wont file them. She says she doesn't owe me freedom.
The mother of my child is the woman I wish to marry. It is hard for us because we want to find housing and raise our son together as a family. If I get married to her, would I need to worry about bigamy charges being filed, even if the woman I am with doesn't find out?

I meant to say the woman I was with. The woman I am with already knows.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. I am sorry but if you are legally married you must file a divorce before you can remarry again. You may use a divorce by publication if that is appropriate, please sit with a local attny and he or she will help you with this. It can be resolved, don't worry. take care.

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.

  2. You cannot just wish yourself unmarried. If you marry a second person while married to the first, you are violating the law and your second marriage is invalid. Futher, you will still be married to the first woman.

    If no one ever finds out, then you will probably be fine, but how are you going to make sure that happens? Your legal wife sounds like she is somewhat bitter and all it takes is one phone call from her to get you in incredibly hot water.

    Furthermore, even if you didn't want to have a new wife, you need to legally end your first marriage. Otherwise, you still have marital obligations to her. It is possible that six years from now she might become disabled or have some other hardship in the future and then she can file for divorce and insist that you pay her alimony for your 10 year marriage...

    There are plenty of other bad things that can happen as well. What will your new wife think if she and you buy a house and then your legal wife shows up asking for her share (and a court gives it to her)?

    I have clients who have been through these exact scenarios. Don't be an idiot. Get this taken care of now.

    What you need to do is to get divorced. You don't need your legal wife's cooperation or signature to get divorced. You simply need to file the paperwork, have her served by the sheriff and complete the process with the court in order to get your freedom. Colorado is a no fault state and there is nothing she can do to prevent the divorce from ultimately being granted. The process can be a bit complicated and you may want to hire an attorney to assit you, but you can and should get divored regardless of your legal wife's wishes.

    You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.

  3. In addition to Mr. Harkess's very thorough answer, if you have lived in Colorado for at least 91 days, then you can file the divorce here, have her served with the papers in Oklahoma, and the Colorado court will handle the divorce. Or you could file the divorce in Oklahoma if she has lived there long enough for Oklahoma to acquire jurisdiction over her. As Mr. Harkess noted, you do not need her consent or her cooperation to divorce her. You just need to file the case and get her served. This answer is provided as general information about a legal issue, is not legal advice specific to a particular case, and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the person asking the question.

  4. Yes, you must get divorced before you can remarry. Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statute section 18-6-201, bigamy is a class six felony for the married person. Class six felonies are punishable by one year to 18 months in jail. You would also be endangering your girlfriend by such conduct as it is a class 2 misdemeanor for a person to marry someone engaged in bigamy. That is a potential sentence of a year in jail. I assume you would not want to subject her to that possibility.
    You are to going to have to take the initiative here as it does not sound like your almost-ex is going to file the papers. If you have lived in Colorado for ninety days, you can file here and have your ex served. Good luck, and please feel free to contact me should you need further assistance. 303-780-7333

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