Some divorces can be finalized in the absence of litigation through a no-fault divorce, which means that the couple agrees on every issue regarding property division, children, debts and everything else pertaining to the end of the marriage. However, this is the exception rather than the norm as most splitting couples disagree on significant issues relating to a divorce.
Divorces have very significant legal and financial ramification, therefore in instances of disagreement it is best to consult an experienced family law attorney to work through these issues. Ignoring the issues without obtaining a divorce is not an effective decision and can lead to serious consequences. For example, in a very unusual case out of East Texas, a 32-year-old woman has been charged with bigamy after she reportedly walked away from multiple marriages to take on new spouses in the absence of any divorce.
So far, there have been four men that have come forward saying that they are all married to the same woman. Reportedly the suspicion surrounding this woman began in June 2011 when two men somehow realized that they both were married to the 32-year-old charged woman. The men then found a third husband in Houston, and another man came forward in Nov. 2011 saying he too had married the woman in question.
According to a local report, the men claim this woman makes a habit of marrying unsuspecting men by “going from guy to guy, ripping them off.” In the woman’s defense, she says that two of her husbands were abusive, she filed divorce papers, she did not know she was acting illegally and she has a condition that causes lapses in memory.
Unfortunately, ignorance of the law is not a defense that often holds up in court. Further, while no one should stay in an abusive marriage, it is still important to make sure a divorce is obtained. Filing divorce papers is not the same thing as finalizing a divorce. Failing to finalize a divorce can lead to prolonged problems and even criminal consequences. It is important to obtain a legally recognized divorce to prevent future problems. The consequences this woman may face remain to be seen.
Source: WLOX 13, “East Texas woman charged with bigamy,” Michael Thompson, Dec. 5, 2012