The road to “happily ever after” can be full of unexpected twists and turns. That was certainly true for one Michigan couple after they found out that the wife’s Texas divorce was never finalized decades before.
Both halves of the couple appear to have struggled to find true love before meeting on MySpace in 2010. The husband, a father of four, had divorced in 2000. The wife, a mother of five, had divorced her first husband way back in 1993 — or so she thought.
It turns out that the judge who had heard her divorce petition died shortly after. In the aftermath of his death, something happened to the woman’s paperwork and the final divorce decree was never entered into the official record by the Clerk of Courts. People commonly assume that their divorce is legal the moment that the judge signs the decree, but that’s not true until the decree makes it into the official records.
Unaware of the mistake, the woman became an unwitting bigamist when she married her new husband three years after they met. She only found out that her prior divorce wasn’t finalized two years later — which set her on the complicated path of having to settle a divorce that should have been done and over with more than 20 years before. Then, she and her current husband had to appear before a judge in order to have the illegal marriage voided before they remarried. It was the only way to set the entire marital record straight and avoid complications in the future.
While this story has a happy ending, it’s an important reminder that the laws that govern family relationships can sometimes be complicated. Something that seems like a small mistake — like a piece of paperwork that doesn’t get filed — can actually have huge consequences. Whatever your family legal issue, make sure that you fully understand each step of the process and work with your attorney to make sure that every stage is properly completed.