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Marriage license not filed with MA, so is the marriage legal or binding?

I got married six years ago to a loser. I wont mince words. Bad idea by him and by me. We lived together for a couple of weeks as husband and wife and then split up. I havn't seen him in years but believe he still lives in Massachusetts. My question is about whether the marriage is legal or binding because as far as I know nobody ever filed the marriage license. So is there some way to have the marriage declared illegal or not valid or do I need to get a divorce before I remarry? If I do need to get divorced, how can I do that if I don't know where my "husband" is? Thanks.

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Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 207, Sections 41 and 42, "imperfect" or "irregular" marriage procedures may still create a valid and binding marriage.  Under Section 42, if you and your spouse entered the marriage in good faith and both believed it was valid (the officiant claimed to have authority, the license was in order, etc.) then your marriage is likely valid under MA law.  You should, of course, discuss this matter with an attorney so she can review the facts and give you appropriate advice about terminating the marriage.

As to your second question, you can still get divorced in MA if you cannot locate your spouse.   You or your attorney will make a Motion for Alternative Service and ask the court to allow service of the Summons by publication. In its order, the court will tell you where and how often the Summons should be published.  If your spouse cannot be located, however, it is unlikely the court will rule on a division of assets/liabilities or on alimony.  In your case, that does not seem to be an issue.  Good luck.



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