Divorce Decrees and Remarriage

Although divorce may unfortunately be common in today’s world, so is getting remarried, which is a great thing. When people get divorced, then want to re-marry, a lot of questions arise about the process, and how the divorce impacts them. One of those is the divorce decree, and how it factors into getting remarried.

The
divorce process is complicated because it involves financial entanglement and also because
the couple has to follow specific legal and court procedures before their
divorce can be signed off by a judge. Because of this, it’s important to
avoid a DIY divorce and seek the assistance of a professional attorney
who can navigate the process for you.

When you file for divorce, you will have to resolve several divorce-related
issues, such as
child custody,
child support,
spousal support,property, and debt division, what to do with the marital residence, etc. Once you have sorted through
all of these issues, you will eventually receive the “divorce decree,”
which is the required proof you’ll need to show that you are divorced.

The divorce decree is official evidence that your divorce is final. Generally,
both spouses sign the divorce decree but it’s not final until it’s
signed off by the judge – that’s when the divorce decree is
effective.

Are Divorce Decrees Permanent?

Once a judge has signed off on a divorce decree, the divorce itself is
official. The parties are free to remarry from that day forward. The terms
outlined in the divorce are also considered “final,” but that
does not mean they aren’t subject to change. It is very common for
things to change in people’s lives after a divorce.

People move away, they become unemployed, the go back to school, they remarry,
they get big promotions, or they become disabled or terminally ill –
all of these life changes may warrant a
modification to a divorce decree. If one of the former spouses desires to change child
custody or spousal support, they have to petition the court for a modification
for the change to be legally enforceable. If a modification is not made
by the court, and one of the party’s deviates from the terms in
the original divorce decree, it is considered a violation of the divorce
decree and the non-breaching party can take their ex to court to enforce
the court order. In serious cases, a party may even be held in contempt
of court, fined, and jailed for violating the divorce decree.

Showing Proof of a Legal Divorce

It is very common for people to remarry, even after they’ve had a
heavily-litigated divorce. Often, such people had been living in hollow,
loveless marriages and they embrace the opportunity to love again, to
have a second chance to get it right. As such, they’ll need to apply
for a marriage license. But what if they were married before? Do they
have to show proof of the divorce?

As we mentioned earlier, the divorce decree is proof that someone has obtained
a divorce. If someone was married before, they cannot remarry unless their
marriage was officially terminated by a court. To prove that the divorce
has in fact gone through, to prove that divorce is legitimate, the divorced
party will usually need to supply evidence of the divorce by producing
their divorce decree.

“Why would I need to show proof that my divorce was finalized?”
For starters, it’s illegal to get married while you’re still
married to someone else. If you were to have this big, beautiful wedding
while you’re technically still married to your first husband or
wife, your second marriage would be legally invalid.

One Story of Bigamy

In 2017,
patch.com ran a real-life story about a woman who was living in California. The
wife didn’t know it, but the husband married her while he was still
legally married to his first wife. His second wife only learned about
the first marriage when the man’s new girlfriend started spreading
rumors about it. So, the woman wanted to know what her rights were about
taking legal actions against bigamy. She also wanted to know if her marriage
was legal.

The woman was informed that her marriage was invalid because her husband
was married to another woman while he was married to her. Under California
law, the second wife was an unwitting victim of bigamy, which means her
marriage was never legal or valid in the eyes of the law. While bigamy
is illegal in California, it’s rare for it to be prosecuted.

The woman was informed by the author of the article that her marriage is
void and that she needed to file an annulment right away. Since she attempted
to get married in good faith, she was a “putative wife,” who
could, therefore, seek one-half of all property the couple acquired during
the course of the invalid marriage. What’s more, she was still entitled
to seek spousal support if she needed it.

Even though we highly doubt that you or anyone you know is guilty of bigamy,
we thought we’d share this interesting story!

Applying for a Marriage License

In California, people don’t have to be a resident of the state to
get married here. However, to get married in California, neither party
can be married to someone else.

“Both parties must appear in person and bring valid picture identification
to the County Clerk’s Office to apply for a marriage license in
California. Valid picture identification is one that contains a photograph,
date of birth, and an issue and expiration date, such as a state-issued
identification card, drivers license, passport, military identification,
etc. Some counties may also require a copy of your birth certificate,”
according to the
California Department of Public Health.

If you are divorced, you will have to provide the specific date your divorce
was finalized. Some counties also require the marriage license applicant
to provide a copy of their final judgment, which is the divorce decree
we mentioned above.

Source: https://www.claerygreen.com/Family-Law-Blog/2020/April/Will-I-Need-a-Divorce-Decree-to-Get-Remarried-.aspx