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What Happens When One Spouse Secretly Divorces the Other and Marries Someone Else?


While many people have all joked about trading an old spouse for a new one, in reality, most people undertake the proper legal steps in the form of legal separation and if necessary, divorce, when a desire to sever a relationship with a spouse arises. In addition, statistics indicate that many people who have experienced a divorce don’t desire to rush back into another union. The Vanier Institute of the Family has reported that 66 percent of the divorced Canadians surveyed in 2011 asserted that they did not have remarriage intentions. However, there are exceptions to every rule and in some cases, an individual remarries someone else not long after a divorce. In even rarer cases, the divorcing partner doesn’t bother to inform the first spouse that the couple is no longer legally married. What happens when a husband divorces one wife and marries another behind her back?

The Recent Case Addressing This Situation

The Ontario Superior Court Of Justice recently considered this exact scenario in Saeed v. Khalid. The parties in that case had married in 2009 then resided in the United States for most of their marriage where they raised two daughters and the husband operated the several gas stations he owned in Louisiana. In December of 2015, the husband suggested that the wife take their daughters on vacation to Pakistan, an idea she initially resisted since she knew her Green Card had expired and that he had not taken steps to renew it, despite her repeatedly asking him to do so. The husband told her that she would be able to re-enter the U.S. with her Canadian passport (she is a Canadian citizen) with no issues, but she subsequently discovered this was untrue when she was denied entry and became stuck in Istanbul for two days. The wife then returned to Canada with their daughters where the trio remained. The husband came to visit in January 2016 and then returned to the United States, never moving to Canada to rejoin his family but promising to hire a lawyer to deal with the wife’s immigration issues.

Instead, the wife discovered in September 2016 that her husband had returned to Pakistan, re-married and brought his new wife to Louisiana, facts she became aware of after mutual acquaintances sent her photographs of the marriage ceremony. Unbeknownst to his first wife, the husband began divorce proceedings in the U.S. against her that were finalized that December but that she did not learn of until July 2018 as a “curator” unknown to her apparently represented her interests. The husband only had occasional contact with their children over the next few years but unexpectedly showed up at the wife’s doorstep with his new bride in January of 2019 asking to see them, which she refused. She then applied for sole custody, child support and spousal support. The husband did not respond to any of this.

Perhaps unsurprisingly in this case, the judgement was favorable to the wife with her being granted sole custody and child support and the husband having only limited, supervised visitation.

Turn to Us For Help

As the Mississauga divorce lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP, we can help you ensure that you undertake all the appropriate steps to separate from a partner in a way that is legal and will maximize your chances of preserving ongoing rights to the children you share. Contact us today to begin.





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