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Divorce not finalized, but going ahead with the wedding ceremony. If no certificate is filed, is it bigamy?

Tampa, FL |

The first wife moved out of state 8 months prior, and the quick/cheap divorce paperwork was not filed properly. The divorce is in Florida. It is uncontested. The court date for the divorce is in 2 months, but the second wedding is planned this month. Is it acceptable to proceed with the wedding and not file until the divorce is final?

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Attorney answers 5


Absolutely not - unless you are having only a religious wedding, but are delaying the civil ceremony until your divorce is finalized. This means that you do not give your marriage license to the officiant (person conducting the ceremony on behalf of the state). It is not a question of filing the executed license. It is a question of the ceremony being conducted on behalf of the state. Talk to a lawyer before you cause yourself serious (and criminal) issues. Many attorney offer a free initial consultation.

Eileen D. Jacobs, Esq.
Office: 2505 W. Virginia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 877-9600
Mailing: P.O. Box 14953
Clearwater, Florida 33766-4953
(727) 787-6595



So if it is just a "commitment ceremony" with no signing of paperwork, is it okay? The actual marriage will be right after the divorce at the county office. I will advise the couple to contact a lawyer to review the exact circumstances to be sure.


Your marriage will be void. Contact my office for free consultation. 727-446-7659.


In Florida the application, license and certificate of marriage are all part of the same letter size paper. You can't apply for a license if you're still married.

This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. Leonore M. Greller, Esq. is a Supreme Court Certified Civil Circuit and Family Mediator and a Qualified Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediator and Arbitrator.

Leonore M. Greller

Leonore M. Greller


You cannot apply for the license because on the application there is a statement that you must sign stating that " WE THE APPLICANTS NAMED IN THIS CERTIFICATE...STATE THAT THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS RECORD IS CORRECT....,"that NO LEGAL OBJECTION to the MARRIAGE NOR THE ISSUANCE OF A LICENSE TO AUTHORIZE." You can't say that there is no legal objection on the application portion of the license and certificate (all on the same page), because your are still married.


Just taking part in a marriage ceremony puts you at great risk if you're still married. On these facts, I would agree with all the other lawyers, you're in trouble if you get married at this time, even if "no certificate if filed."


You cannot post-date a marriage license. DO NOT APPLY before the divorce. In order to get the license you must swear that there is no legal objection to the marriage. I am assuming that there are valid reasons for not rescheduling the wedding until after the divorce is finalized. If there are then you can go ahead with the ceremony with friends and family, but not the application, execution or filing of the license. As far as the State of Florida will be concerned you will still be married to your current wife and no one else. The "wedding" will have no legal significance (i.e. renewing of vows). When the divorce is finalized you may then apply for the license and have a second ceremony at the Courthouse. Then and only then will you be married to your new wife.

The above is opinion based on very limited facts and not legal advice. This is not a substitute for a consultation with an attorney and does not constitute the establishment of an attorney/client relationship.

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