bigamy

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bigamy

n. the condition of having two wives or two husbands at the same time. A marriage in which one of the parties is already legally married is bigamous, void, and ground for annulment. The one who knowingly enters into a bigamous marriage is guilty of the crime of bigamy, but it is seldom prosecuted unless it is part of a fraudulent scheme to get another's property or some other felony. Occasionally people commit bigamy accidentally, usually in the belief that a prior marriage had been dissolved. The most famous case in the United States was that of Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel Robards. Ms. Robards' husband had applied for a divorce, but it had not been granted (it required legislative approval) at the time of her second marriage. She completed the divorce and then the Jacksons remarried. Jackson was embarrassed for life over his carelessness (he was a lawyer and a judge), which had hurt his wife's reputation. Having several wives at the same time is called "polygamy" and being married to several husbands is "polyandry."

bigamy

noun unlawful marriage, illegal marriage, mulliple illegal marriages, multiple spouses, marrying multiple partners, marrying multiple wives, marrying multiple hussands

bigamy

the crime of entering what would be - if it were not for a valid and subsisting marriage - a second marriage. A reasonable belief in the death of a spouse even without a court order may exculpate, for then the MENS REA would be lacking.

BIGAMY, crim. law, domestic relations. The willful contracting of a second marriage when the contracting party knows that the first is still subsisting; or it is the state of a man who has two wives, or of a woman who has two husbands living at the same time. When the man has more than two wives, or the woman more than two husbands living at the same time, then the party is said to have committed polygamy, but the name of bigamy is more frequently given to this offence in legal proceedings. 1 Russ. on Cr. 187.
     2. In England this crime is punishable by the stat. 1 Jac. 1, c. 11, which makes the offence felony but it exempts from punishment the party whose husband or wife shall continue to remain absent for seven years before the second marriage, without being heard from, and persons who shall have been legally divorced. The statutory provisions in the U. S. against bigamy or polygamy, are in general similar to, and copied from the statute of 1 Jac. 1, c. 11, excepting as to the punishment. The several exceptions to this statute are also nearly the same in the American statutes, but the punishment of the offence is different in many of the states. 2 Kent, Com. 69; vide Bac. Ab. h. t.; Com. Dig. Justices, Sec. 5; Merlin, Repert. mot Bigamie; Code, lib. 9, tit. 9, 1. 18; and lib. 5, tit. 5, 1. 2.
     3. According to the canonists, bigamy is three-fold, viz.: (vera, interpretative, et similitudinaria,) real, interpretative and similitudinary. The first consisted in marrying two wives successively, (virgins they may be,) or in once marrying a widow; the second consisted, not in a repeated marriage, but in marrying (v. g. meretricem vel ab alio corruptam) a harlot; the third arose from two marriages indeed, but the one metaphorical or spiritual, the other carnal. This last was confined to persons initiated in sacred orders, or under the vow Of continence. Deferriere's Tract, Juris Canon. tit. xxi. See also Bac. Abr. h. t.; 6 Decret, 1. 12. Also Marriage.

References in periodicals archive ?
In 2010, bigamist businessman Alexander Roy - who juggled two wives, two fiancees and had a string of previous lovers - escaped jail.
I was a bit shocked when she told me about being a bigamist who was married to five men but I am standing by her.
Alan Hedley, 52, met and fell in love with Russian Ludmila Repina on the internet but was exposed as a bigamist as he tried to get her into the country.
I THINK it's fair to say that regular reader Gerry Collins was a little bit shocked to hear that serial bigamist Alex Roy - the man with two wives, two lovers and 18 fiancees - escaped jail and got sentenced to 240 hours of community service.
Jane Down, Manchester WHO'D have thought bigamist bride Emily Horne would have had such luck with the fellas?
THE Midland victim of a serial bigamist has spoken out after the case of a ''predatory'' female who faked four weddings.
Colclough, 38, of Forres, Moray, was last year exposed by the Sunday Mail as a suspected bigamist who preyed on women and claimed to be a heroic Army major, doctor and fighter pilot.
It sees John Smith continue his bigamist lifestyle.
Katrina Hurley, 36, was just settling down to married life when she found out husband Stephen Chamberlain was a bigamist.
THE victim of a bigamist turned into a "virtual recluse" after learning of her husband's deceitful ways, a court heard yesterday.
It is a brutally honest autobiography, neither stinting in praise or censure where he feels it is deserved - his bigamist father gets a particularly rough ride.