A Unique Divorce Problem

| Jan 29, 2016 | Uncategorized

Here’s a question that an attorney posted on an open forum for Michigan attorneys. (The details have been changed for the client’s privacy): I have a client who is currently married to 2 men. Her first marriage occurred in 1982…. 

In 1984, her husband disappeared and she assumed he had died, so she filed for divorce. But she did not follow up with the case, and did not try to enter a final judgment of divorce, so the judge dismissed her case for “lack of progress”. In 2005, she was married for a second time. Earlier this year, she filed for a divorce from her second husband. But then she discovered that her first husband had not died: he had been sent to prison for 30 years, and had neglected to tell her. Since she never completed the divorce from the first husband, she was technically still married to him. That means that her second “marriage” was invalid, and that nullifies all the property rights that she thought she had with the person she thought was her second husband. In short, she cannot get divorced from Husband #2 if she was never legally married to him.Does anybody know how I can re-file her first divorce action and have it issued as of some date prior to 2005 (the date of her second marriage)? That would make her second marriage valid, and she could now proceed with Divorce #2. Does anybody know what the procedure is to back-date a divorce? What’s a girl to do? The moral of the story: If you get sent to prison for 30 years, you should tell your wife about it. (Some husbands can be so thoughtless about this kind of thing.) At least, that’s my opinion. I could be wrong. 

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