[I live in Washington State, but the marriages described below happened in other states; I believe California and Nevada.]
I have a rather strange question. This situation is happening right now, but I don't want to give real names to avoid any embarrassment.
I know a woman who married someone (let's call him Pete) about 20 years ago. She (call her Ann) and he decided to get married twice, just for sentimental reasons. So they wound up with two marriage certificates. Later on, Ann divorced Pete and married Jake. Now, after 20 years, she is in the process of divorcing Jake and going back to Pete. But she thinks that she is still married to Pete (because of the 2nd marriage certificate) and that therefore her marriage to Jake is unlawful!
1. Is this true? I thought that if someone was married already, then any "remarriage" would be officially considered as a renewal of vows by a court of law, and not a legal second marriage.
2. Will the second marriage certificate be considered null and void, or is it a legal document?
3. Are there any laws that specifically address this situation, or any court cases identical to this one?
4. If legal, would Ann and Pete need to divorce twice to actually be divorced?!
I sincerely appreciate any help you can give me,