When one person in a marriage makes the decision to file for divorce, it can put the lives of all involved in a state of flux. There are many legal aspects to consider in divorce proceedings, including property division, spousal support and child custody, but perhaps the most important part is to make sure the divorce is actually finalized.

Police learned a Texas man has been married to two women since 2009. According to reports, the 38-year-old man filed for a divorce from his first wife on Oct. 16, 2009 and married his next wife the same day. However, the man apparently never showed up at the divorce hearing for his first marriage, so his petition was dismissed.

He has been living with his second wife just 17 miles from the residence of his first, and neither woman was aware of the situation until May, when the second wife contacted the first. The second wife apparently became aware that her husband was paying another woman’s bills. After she was contacted, the first wife alerted police to the situation.

The man was arrested on a warrant for bigamy, a third-degree felony, and released on a $2,000 bail. A hearing is scheduled for April and the first wife has also filed a petition of divorce.

Emotions run high at the end of a marriage, and it is important for all parties to understand their rights and responsibilities under the law and to follow through to make sure the divorce is complete.

Source: ABC News, “Texas Bigamist Led a Double Life for Three Years, Police Say,” Dina Abou Salem, Oct. 19, 2012