You've Remarried, But It Turns Out Your Divorce Wasn't Final. What Now?
You're freaking out because you just discovered that your divorce was never actually finalized -- and you've been remarried for several years. What happens now? Unless your ex is likely to start fighting the divorce at this point, you shouldn't have any trouble overcoming this legal technicality. However, you may need to get legally married again.
It's Not All That Uncommon
You might be surprised to learn that finding out a divorce was never finalized happens relatively often. A family law attorney will not be shocked when you call to explain your situation, which legally is known as accidental bigamy.
Often, the circumstances involve one person who filed for divorce and the spouse obliged by signing all the forms. Then the spouse who filed never completed the process.
Resolving the Problem
If your ex-spouse is cooperative, things should go smoothly, although you may need to start the divorce process all over again. Contact a family law attorney who can investigate the situation and begin the new filing.
If your ex decides to fight the divorce at this point, you'll need a skilled lawyer to represent you in court. The fact that you've been living apart for some considerable time will weigh in your favor with the judge. If your ex-spouse was the one who initiated the filing and did not follow through, that is another point in your favor.
About Your Current Marriage
Your family law attorney knows whether there's anything you must do to validate your marriage after the divorce is indeed final. Different states have difficult regulations. You may need to legally marry once more. You can do that with a trip to city hall.
Or, it might be a good moment to hold a vow renewal ceremony with some family and close friends in attendance, and include a new legal marriage in the process.
In contrast, your state may automatically consider your current marriage valid as soon as the divorce is final. Then you don't need to do anything at all. Even so, your lawyer might recommend that the two of you get legally married again, just to make sure you have all the bases covered.
Your circumstances probably seem very peculiar and embarrassing to you, but keep in mind that many people must deal with a similar situation. Your lawyer is no stranger to this problem. Get going on finalizing the divorce and moving forward with your current marriage.