Got married 22 years ago never got divorce and remarried

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Got married 22 years ago never got divorce and remarried

Got married again without getting a divorce the
first wife wants spousal support and child
support. We have one child together that is
now 21 in jail. She have 8 more kids by 3 other
men. She found out I was married and is now
telling people she is carrying my child.

Asked on April 24, 2018 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) You are NOT remarried if you never divorced. You can only be married to one person at a time in the U.S. If you are married to person A, you cannot marry person B and your attempted marriage to B will be void.
2) Your wife--your only legal wife; the first one--may be able to get spousal support if she divorces; it's also the case that after many years of you and she having lives apart, she might not be entitled to it, but it's at least a possibility, since as a general matter, the primary care giver (for the couple's child) and/or lesser-earning spouse can get spousal support in a divorce. She may also be able to get some amount of retroactive child support (since you should have been paying it all along). 
You really do need a famly law or matrimonial attorney for your situation; you need to find a way to hire one, to protect you (as much as possible) from her monetary demands and to help you sort out your marital situation.
Three other issues:
3) If she is telling a lie about you that damages your reputation (e.g. that she is carrying your child when she is not), you could potentially sue her for defamation. An attorney can also help you do this *and* make sure she does get child support from you for a child which is not yours.
4) The lawyer can also help make sure she does not child support from you for those other 8 children you mention--the law presumes that a married woman's children are those of her husband unless a) someone else acknowledges paternity (fatherhood) or b) it is proven (such as with a DNA test) that the children do not belong to the husband. She could potentially try to make you pay for other men's children, too.
5) Except as per the above, forget about how many other children she has by other men: that has no bearing on you, she, and your child. All that matters is that you married her, did not divorce her, and had a child by her. Whether her behavior or lifestyle is blameworthy in some way doesn't affect her or your child's rights to support, or that the fact that you must divorce her to disentangle yourself from her.


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