iStock_000062657130_SmallIt’s good that divorce exists. Nobody wants to be stuck in a marriage that is not working out. A convenient, quickie divorce is a pretty good thing, too. Sometimes you just realize you’ve made a terrible mistake and want to extricate yourself from the relationship as quickly as possible with no muss and no fuss. Normally, however, a quickie divorce is followed by an immediate separation and both members of the couple going off to lead their lives on their own. But now one woman says that her husband divorced her shortly after their wedding, did not tell her about the divorce, and that the two of them lived happily as a married couple for the next 20 years before she figured out that he’d dissolved the marriage.

According to Yahoo, Cristina Carta Villa says she married Gabriel Villa in New York in 1994. They were married for more than 20 years and have a son together and she says she nursed him through health scares and their relationship was completely normal and standard and unremarkable. Well, he was more than 30 years older than she was, but aside from that they were a perfectly ordinary married couple. Cristina Villa is now 59, and Gabriel Villa is 90.

“It was and somehow it’s still a great love,” Cristina Villa said to the New York Post. “Gabriel is a very charismatic man, strong, intelligent and very charming. I think we could say I was a loving and caring wife and mother.”

Except in November Cristina Villa says she discovered that just four months after their wedding, Gabriel Villa secretly divorced her in the Dominican Republic without her knowledge or consent. He did not tell her about that, and they’ve just been going about as a married couple for the past 20 years.

Gabriel Villa allegedly filed for divorce in the Dominican Republic and told authorities there that he was seeking a dissolution of the marriage because his wife was “unbearable” and there was an “incompatibility of temperaments.” He allegedly hired lawyers to go to the Dominican Republic and represent both sides of the divorce, even though Cristina Villa says she had no idea any of this was happening.

Cristina Villa says she found out about all this when a tax bill appeared for the condo where she lived with her husband, and she thought it was odd that her name was not on it. Sensing shenanigans, she hired a lawyer to figure out what was going on. That lawyer came back and allegedly told her that her husband was trying to take her name off the condo, and was using the decades old divorce as proof that she was not an owner.

Cristina Villa was reportedly stunned by both those moves, especially the part where she found out she’d been divorced the whole time.

“I realize now that during all these years of joy and happiness, and of difficult moments we shared together, my husband lied to me and had the Dominican divorce on the back of his mind. It’s what is hurting me the most,” she said.

Cristina Villa is suing her husband to nullify the divorce and keep him from selling their apartment. She says the divorce was fraud because it’s not possible to divorce someone without their knowledge or consent, and the fact that she allegedly continued to live as his wife for more than 20 years after the purported divorce seems like pretty good evidence that she had no idea any of this was going on. It’s a pretty creepy move to divorce one’s spouse, then just not tell them about it and let them go on thinking they were married for 20 damn years.

(Photo: Gregory_DUBUS/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)