On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Many Florida readers are familiar with the career of entertainer Ben Vereen. The singer and dancer has had a long and successful career, but is currently in the headlines for a different matter. It appears that Vereen may have accidentally committed bigamy when he married his second wife. He is now faced with a divorce case, from a woman he thought that he divorced some 30 plus years.
Vereen married his first wife in 1965. At the time, he was 19 years of age and she was just 14, and carrying his child. That union ended in the early 1970s, when the couple sought a divorce. Vereen went on to marry his second wife in 1976, and that marriage lasted until 2012. During the course of that divorce, it was discovered that the marriage was invalid due to the fact that Vereen did not officially divorce his first wife.
The first wife recently became aware of the matter when she went to file for Social Security benefits. At that time, she found out that her divorce had never been finalized, and she claims that Vereen did not serve her with the proper paperwork. She is now asking for a divorce from her unintentional husband of more than 50 years, and insisting that he pay for the process. There is also a suggestion from her attorney that she should be compensated as part of the divorce.
As this case illustrates, issues of marriage and divorce can become incredibly complicated. For some in Florida, it may be time to double check if a former marriage was properly terminated, and to ensure that the paperwork is all in order. No one wants to remarry, only to find that the union is not valid in the eyes of the law. In addition, few people want to fight over a division of assets with a former spouse from many decades past.
mercurynews.com, “Ben Vereen illegally married for 36 years“, Tony Hicks, Sept. 9, 2016