How bigamy and marriage work
A person can marry another person in any part of the world if they are married to one another. Bigamy is when a man or woman has a romantic relationship and decides to marry another person before annulling or divorcing a legal marriage. This second relationship isn’t legally binding and could result in criminal charges. The United States cannot allow foreign spouses to marry, even if they are not legally recognized.
Sometimes, a marriage does not end when the spouse is ready for a new relationship. Bigamy can occur if the divorce is not completed in the time allowed. If the spouse who is presumed to be dead is still living, this is possible. If the spouse is unavailable or absent for more than seven years in most states, or five years in other states, it is possible to presumptively be alive. These cases allow for remarriage and bigamy is not possible. Bigamy is not always a defense in good faith.
In 1878, the original ruling deemed any plural spouse, or wife, as bigamy or Polygamy. It is illegal regardless of what religion it is. This original crime was a problem for the Mormon religion, which allowed multiple wives to one man in its religious community. Although the Mormon Church has since renounced polygamy, some members of the community continue to practice it. The activity is hidden from the public because the church or location keeps it confidential and out of reach of prying eyes.
A bigamous marriage is legally null and the spouse who was affected can seek an annulment. Although there may be local laws that could affect the situation, the spouse who discovers the crime can have the marriage declared invalid by a judge and face criminal charges against the bigamist. While the laws regarding illegal activity may differ from one state to the next, most will either fine or add penalties based on the facts. As an alternative to seeking compensation for mental pain, suffering, and trauma caused by the bigamist’s actions, civil litigation may be available in other states.
Overcoming the Crime of Bigamy
It is a crime in the United States to engage in bigamy. However, there are ways around this crime. These include compliance with state laws and specific activities. A new legal relationship can be established if the spouse believes that the other spouse has died, divorced, or annexed the marriage. A person must be able to prove that they believe one of these circumstances exists. A person who was in a previous relationship must legally separate for a set number of years, based on the state in which the new marriage took place. The individual cannot know the identity of the spouse during this period.
These defenses are possible when a person is accused of bigamy. These defenses may not be able to shift proof burdens or provide the defendant with a valid claim. It is more difficult to defend against charges if the state puts more pressure on the defendant to prove it.
Bigamy Legal Criminal Defense
Bigamy offenses are frequently felonies. The defendant must prove that they can defend the charges, that reasonable evidence was available, that the spouse is dead, or that the marriage is not in force. These cases will be handled by a family law surrey bc who will try to protect the individual’s rights.