If my daughter just married someone without divorcing her current husband, is her new marriage legal?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my daughter just married someone without divorcing her current husband, is her new marriage legal?

They have been separated for a few years and she has been denying him a divorce. I don’t understand, how does someone go about getting a marriage license and get married if they are still married to someone else?

Asked on February 9, 2016 under Family Law, Wisconsin


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, this is not a legal marriage. Merely being separated (whether or not a formal separation) does not legally terminate a marriage. Unless and until a person obtains a final decree of divorce, they are not free to re-marry. If they do, not only is such a "re-marriage" null and void, it is against the law. Anyone who attempts to marry a second spouse while still married to their first spouse is guilty of bigamy, a criminal offense.

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