Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I converted to Islam, can I marry a Muslim woman before my divorce from my ex is final?

decree of divorce %photoAsalamu aleykum. I am a convert to Islam and had been separated for 6 months before filing for divorce from my ex. My ex is Christian, and I am Muslim.

I could not file earlier because of money. I have now filed and I was told it could take over 1 year to divorce. . I live in California USA.

The woman I want to marry is Muslim and has been divorced from her husband for 6 years.

Is it possible to get married Islamically before my divorce is final? Can I be charged under American law with bigamy? Does her ex-husband have any rights or say in us getting married? Thank you.

- Amin


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2 Responses »

  1. Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

    Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah

    Technically, it is permissible for you to go ahead and have an Islamic nikah that is unregistered with the state, but my advice to you would be to be patient and wait until you are free to marry legally as well as Islamically. First of all, if your to-be ex-wife gets wind of the fact that you have "married" she can accuse you of adultery and this can affect your divorce and get you in trouble with the law, though I'm not sure exactly what the laws of California are. Second, if I were advising a Muslim sister who would be contemplating marriage to a man in your situation, I would not recommend marrying because she is putting herself in a position of weakness where she can be taken advantage of. Until she can become your wife legally in addition to Islamically, she should not marry because then she will not be able to get a man to fulfill her rights, since according to the state she doesn't have them. I am not saying that you would take advantage of her in any way, but as a general rule I would advise against this.

    You are a new Muslim, so you have a LOT to learn. You will have to discard bad habits from your pre-Muslim days and learn your rights and RESPONSIBILITIES as a Muslim man. You can spend this year doing that. Pray, fast to lower your body's desires, and learn. Visit our sister site, zawaj.com, and read articles about how to be a good Muslim husband. Develop the good habits of a believer, such as making sure you have a permissible income and avoiding interest (ribaa). Make a plan of how your new marriage will be, and talk to your wife to be, but only with a chaperone and not in a flirtatious manner, as she is not yet permissible to you or you to her. Yes, it will be a long year, but it can be a very bountiful and educational year as you strive to learn your Deen. May Allah make it easy on you.

    Fi Aman Allah,

    Noorah,
    Editor, IslamicAnswers.com

  2. As Salaam-u-Aleikum, Brother: California has some very strict laws pertaining to bigamy (which is what your proposed second marriage would be considered if you are not already lawfully divorced to your first wife pursuant to California Family Law). The State exercises almost absolute authority in Family Law and property matters. Here are a few laws you might wish to study: Penal Code 282, 283, 284 (pertaining to bigamy), PC 777 thru’ 795 (Public Offense – Jurisdiction), Evidence Code: 980 thru’ 987 (pertaining to disclosure), Evidence Code 970 thru’ 973 (pertaining to Testimony). Additionally, it is ethical (and wise) to have a “clean break” prior to considering a new relationship. It would be unfair to dump your unhealthy “baggage” from previous experience(s) on to your unsuspecting prospective spouse. There’s a stiff jail sentence and a heavy fine ($5,000 to 10,000) upon conviction for you BOTH. Tread carefully, Brother! The court may be inclined to believe your conversion to Islam might be a tactical ruse of convenience.

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