Alleged Facebook Bigamist's Defense: Never Married to First Wife

Woman Discovers Husbands Second Life - and Wife - on FacebookFacebook
John France and Amanda

Many people cheat on their spouses, but one woman claims her husband actually married another woman behind her back.

Lynn and John France of Cleveland allegedly were married in Italy in 2005. They had two children together and, at least for Lynn, everything seemed fine until the fall of 2008, when she said she suspected her husband was having an affair.

But it wasn't until she looked on Facebook that she discovered her husband's alleged mistress actually was his wife, she told She has accused her husband of bigamy, but John France's lawyer told Lynn France and the man she thought was her husband never actually were legally married.

"These people were under the impression that they got married in Italy," John France's lawyer, Gary Williams of Tampa, Fla., told "This was not a lawful marriage according to the Italian government."

Lynn France's attorneys disagree.

"It's been an allegation that's been thrown about, but no specifics have ever been brought forward to substantiate this allegation," Jonathan Rich, an attorney for Lynn France, told

"There is a certificate that is issued by the foreign country that verifies the marriage certificate of the foreign country," he said.

Rich said he obtained the document that he called an apostille during an earlier court proceeding between the couple.

Click here to see the apostille.

Williams refused to comment on the validity of the apostille.

"If you're legally married in another country, then you're legally married in America," Rich said.

If it turns out John France isn't married to Lynn France, Zashin said, he may face other problems.

"That's a real problem for him," Zashin said, "because either he's a bigamist or he's violated a whole slew of other laws."

Whether or not Lynn and John France ever were married is only one part of the messy relationship that involves John France's alleged other wife, Amanda Weisal France, and Lynn and John France's two young children.

Lynn France has filed for divorce in Ohio, but the case has been dismissed and moved to Florida, where John and Amanda France live.

John France also has filed a paternity action in an attempt to gain at least partial custody of the children.

John and Lynn France returned from their 2005 wedding on the Amalfi coast of Italy to start a life together in Cleveland, and everything seemed to be going well, according to Lynn France. She gave birth to their first son in 2006 and their second in June 2008.

A few months later, however, she said she started to grow suspicious that the man she believed was her husband had been unfaithful.

Once, when he called saying he was in China on business, she said she noticed his passport was still at home. She claimed he tried to cover his tracks upon his return.

"He had souvenirs for all of us, like he was there," Lynn France told "He probably got them in Chinatown."

After that, she said she discovered more and more about John France's relationship with the other woman. Finally, she said, she followed him to a hotel where she claims to have found John and Amanda France together.

Lynn France said she told Amanda France that John France was her husband but that Amanda France brushed it off.

"She said, 'Well, we're engaged,'" Lynn France said. "It was just kind of heartbreaking."

Zashin, one of Lynn France's attorneys, said it is fairly common for people in affairs to get engaged.

"It's unusual that they actually pull the trigger and get married," he told

"He's not going to be that silly to go through with it," Lynn France said she remembered thinking at the time. "Then we saw the pictures of the ceremony on Facebook."

In January 2009, the messy relationship finally landed in court. John France filed a domestic violence charge against Lynn France, and Lynn France filed for divorce.

"The allegation was that [John France] and his kids were being held a gunpoint by [Lynn France]," said Rich, one of Lynn France's attorneys. "We proved that to be untrue."

After John France lost that case, Rich said, he tried to win back Lynn France. She started to believe him when he allegedly said he wanted to end his relationship with the other woman and, in turn, fix their relationship.

"I wanted to believe that he'd changed," Lynn France said. "He did show me documents from attorneys saying, 'We're working on your annulment with Amanda.'"

The annulment apparently never happened.

Nevertheless, Lynn France told that she agreed to drop the divorce case against the advice of her attorneys. She said she and John France moved back in together in June 2009 and their relationship seemed to have been mended.

"Everything was good until about March 26 of this year," Lynn France said. "He actually had taken the kids then and went to Florida for a few weeks."

Williams, John France's attorney, said his client filed a paternity action in Florida early this spring in order to establish custody legally over the two children.

"Any time you have two parties who jointly have children who are not going to live together ... then you need some sort of court order to establish who has custody of the children," Williams told Lynn France said John France had taken the children to his home in Florida, where she said he lives with his new wife, Amanda France.

She said John France later returned to her home in Ohio with the children and asked her to sign a document saying they were not married that also would have granted him shared custody of their children. She refused to sign.

One day, while Lynn France was washing the breakfast dishes, John France ran out of the door with the children and fled in his car, which had been running in the driveway, she said.

"The police met me at the airport and he was not registered on any flights," she said.

She said she even filed a report with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Neither John France nor his attorney could be immediately reached for comment on Lynn France's allegations.

She said she hasn't seen her children in weeks, except for online.

"I've been watching on Facebook," Lynn France said. "This is where they are. That's how I've seen the children."

Now, she has again filed for divorce and accused her husband of bigamy.

"Lynn has known that Mr. France remarried since he remarried," Williams said. "Ms. France in Ohio never had any problem with [the remarriage] until after he filed a paternity action."

A successful paternity action would enable John France to seek at least partial custody of the children. Normally, marriage would serve that purpose.

The legal battle is just beginning over whether or not John and Lynn France were or are married, or who will have custody over their two young children.

"I'm just trying as a mom to do everything I can to get the kids," Lynn France said. "To them, it's just like this mockery joke. To me, it's heart wrenching."