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If a putative marriage is invalid because of bigamy, to determine the division of property upon death, or by dissolution of the valid marriage, or when creditors seek to seize property, the living apart doctrine usually determines the result. Post separation acquisitions by the bigamous spouse would go to the second spouse, while pre-second marriage acquisitions would belong to the first spouse. If a bigamous spouse does not separate from the first valid spouse and begins living with the second putative spouse, the court will apply equitable principles to sort out the property classifications arising from the illegal relations.


An innocent participant who has duly solemnized a matrimonial union which is void because of some legal infirmity acquires the status of putative spouse. (Estate of Foy, 109 Cal.App.2d 329, 331 [240 P.2d 685].) A woman who marries in the good-faith belief that her husband was divorced from his first wife is judged on credibility by the trial court (Estate of Goldberg, 203 Cal.App.2d 402, 412 [21 Cal.Rptr. 626]; Estate of Long, 198 Cal.App.2d 732, 737-738 [18 Cal.Rptr. 105]); and court acceptance of her testimony established her status as a putative spouse.

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