06 Nov The Accidental Bigamist
Bigamy, or being married to two people at the same time, is surprisingly more common than people think. Bloom Law Office helps navigate divorce when one (or more!) party is a bigamist to ensure a positive and legal outcome for all. In many cases, bigamy is accidental. Maybe the bigamist thought that they really had been legally divorced or that a previous marriage was considered null. Perhaps they were married in another country and thought those marriage laws don’t apply in the US. No matter the reason, what’s important to know is that bigamy is illegal and needs to be addressed.
A previous marriage can be legally dissolved through divorce, annulment, the death of the previous spouse, and in some extenuating circumstances (i.e., a spouse has been missing for years). Bigamy is different than polygamy, which happens when multiple people enter a marriage willingly. With polygamy, which is also illegal, there is usually a celebration, and everyone is aware of the dynamics. Bigamy usually involves deception and occurs when a person intentionally chooses not to dissolve a previous marriage.
How States Address Bigamy
Every state addresses the criminal code of bigamy differently, and in New Jersey, if a person is charged with bigamy, the prosecution has to show proof of a previous marriage, proof that it was not dissolved, and that the defendant got re-married. Usually, if a person is found guilty of bigamy, they serve jail time between six months and ten years. Fines can range up to $10,000.
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Additionally, if a person is found guilty of bigamy, any marriages after the first is considered void. There are also big changes to any inheritance requirements, which can vary greatly case by case. If a marriage is declared void, property rights will change. It’s a messy situation and requires divorce law experts to help you navigate these waters no matter what your involvement is in the case. Find out more about bigamy and divorce by contacting Bloom Law Office today – 855-208-3650.