Author Topic: can deserted wife remarry after several years?  (Read 4287 times)

Offline sossle

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can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« on: Friday 21 August 09 17:32 BST (UK) »
Could anyone please tell me if a man deserted his wife could she remarry after several years? My Grt Grandmother remarried in a Church of England Church 9years plus after her husband left her. She is down as a widow on the marriage certificate of her 2nd marriage. Would she have to prove to the church that she was a widow. I know there were a lot of bigamous marriages in the early 1900's but she had lived with another man for at least 8 years before she married him. I can't find the death of her first husband but maybe he died in WW1.

Offline Luzzu

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Re: can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« Reply #1 on: Friday 21 August 09 17:52 BST (UK) »
Hi,

I'm no expert but I think  ??? if a person goes missing, under UK law, they can be declared "presumed dead" after 7 years and this would be done through the courts.  Therefore the partner presumably would be free to marry again.

Luzzu
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Offline sossle

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Re: can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« Reply #2 on: Friday 21 August 09 18:06 BST (UK) »
Hi,

Thanks for that but I don't think they'd have had the money to go through the courts or employ a solicitor.

Offline fredandora

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Re: can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« Reply #3 on: Friday 21 August 09 18:13 BST (UK) »
Hi sossle,

You might try checking for your grt-grandma's first husband's WWI death with the cwgc online.  just type in those initials and you'll get the website and the search page.  If you know the man's name (surname and initial) you're fine.  If it's a common surname, you may have to wade through quite a few, and if he gave no one as his next of kin then you might not have a certain record; but it's worth the try.

all the best, Anne.
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Offline avm228

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Re: can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« Reply #4 on: Friday 21 August 09 18:21 BST (UK) »
Could anyone please tell me if a man deserted his wife could she remarry after several years?


The offence of bigamy has a statutory exception which applies where the spouse has been absent 7 years and they are not known to have been alive in that time:

See section 57 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861:

Whosoever, being married, shall marry any other person during the life of the former husband or wife, whether the second marriage shall have taken place in England or Ireland or elsewhere, shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to be kept in penal servitude for any term not exceeding seven years ... : Provided, that nothing in this section contained shall extend to any second marriage contracted elsewhere than in England and Ireland by any other than a subject of Her Majesty, or to any person marrying a second time whose husband or wife shall have been continually absent from such person for the space of seven years then last past, and shall not have been known by such person to be living within that time, or shall extend to any person who, at the time of such second marriage, shall have been divorced from the bond of the first marriage, or to any person whose former marriage shall have been declared void by the sentence of any court of competent jurisdiction.


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Offline Jackie464

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Re: can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 22 August 09 06:59 BST (UK) »
Hi - in 1959 my late m-in-law applied to remarry after her husband had been 'absent' for over seven years.  She had to apply to the court and she also had to place adverts to find him in local and national papers for three consectutive week ( that is local to the last place where she knew he was).  In her case it was agreed - but strangely this was the 2nd time she went through this process - she married 4 times!

In  1942 her 1st husband had been captured and held prisoner in Burma.  He was after seven years presumed dead by the War Office and she remarried.  However, he wasn't dead and returned to find his wife had remarried, his parents had died, the house he lived in had been sold and he nad a young son.  Amazingly he remained sane and married again himself. 

So yes it is legally possible - but most people didn't go though that - they simply went to a church or register office and lied - as in the case of my grandfather and father who both married bigmaously - one in the church (twice) and the other in the register office - the years were 1917, 1926 and 1961.  Jackie

Offline sossle

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Re: can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 22 August 09 08:18 BST (UK) »
Thank you to you all for the info.

I still can't understand that she waited so long though. She lived with who became her second husband from 1910. She had a child with him in 1911 & if she'd waited 7 years she could have married him 1917? She was quite religous C of E & married her second husband in a C of E Church but not until 1919 & is down as a widow. Would it make any difference that her first marriage was in Scotland?

Offline stonechat

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Re: can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 22 August 09 08:23 BST (UK) »
That's interesting for me
my gt granmother's first husband disappered

by 1891 census the was with my gt grandfather and my 1 yr old grandfather

yet the couple did not marry until 1896 - and a little distance from their home location (to avoid scandal?)

1896-7=1889, hmm not sure

But husband no 1 disappeared - no death record anywhere
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Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: can deserted wife remarry after several years?
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 22 August 09 08:31 BST (UK) »
The answer is in two parts.
If both partners remained in the UK then there had to be no knowledge of the missing partner being alive during the 7 years.

If the missing partner was overseas (such as transported) then the remaining partner could legally marry in this country (after seven years) even if they knew their spouse was still alive.

If or when the original partner returned to this country the second marriage could be declared void.
Cheers
Guy

modified to add s to seven
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