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Divorced in MA but still married in Brazil?

My wife and her ex-husband are both from Brazil and were married there before coming to the US. He moved back to Brazil and she filed for divorce in the United States. She also began divorce proceedings in Brazil. The divorce was finalized in Massachusetts in 2008, but four years later, she still has not finalized the divorce proceedings in Brazil. I was not aware of this when we married.

My question is whether or not she is still legally married to her ex-husband in terms of Massachusetts law? I am trying to determine whether or not I have valid grounds for annulment.

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You need to talk to an experienced divorce attorney who can give you more information about how the failure to finalize the divorce impacts your wife's status under the laws of Massachusetts.  I do not know the answer.  I can tell your, and your attorney may confirm this fact, that it is usually easier to simply get a divorce.  If you are interested, here is some additional information on annulment in Massachusetts.  Good luck.

Marriage and divorce involving international jurisdictions and can be quite complex. See the following article from the US State Department for more information:

Annulment, although more complicated than a divorce, may be appropriate in your case. Your wife already has a Massachusetts Probate and Family Court divorce decree. This court order established when she was married in Brazil. In your annulment case you then need to show, using the appropriate official documents, that she married you in Brazil while she was already married. This should be grounds to have your marriage annulled by the Probate and Family Court.

This would really only help you in Massachusetts, since Brazil may or may not recognize any actions by the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. You would have to speak to an experienced Brazilian lawyer about this. The main advantage to you in getting an annulment instead of a divorce is that you won’t have to be concerned about a Probate and Family Court marital property division and spousal support (alimony) order, since the legal effect of an annulment is that you were never married.

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