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 ?
She Supposed She Had A Right to Marry Too": Bigamous Wives and the Limits of Women's Choices
But the lawyer added that it was not yet clear whether the second marriage was bigamous as proceedings between Jackson and Janet to clarify the status of the divorce were still taking place in the family courts.
If we cannot strip him of his citizenship for an apparently bigamous marriage, then new laws may allow David Blunkett to give the boot to the clown of Finsbury Park.
Last month he appeared in court and admitted bigamous marriages to CaroleAnne, wife number six, and wife number seven Susan Kelvin, who is standing by him.
The 37-year-old Cleveland officer was suspended after claims of a bigamous marriage and papers have been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider charges, a spokesman for the force said yesterday.
69) El Teniente workers were also notorious for their bigamous practices.
He also denies plotting between 2004 and 2008 to enter a bigamous marriage with Simone Banerjee to get access to her estate.
A FORMER glamour model walked free from court yesterday, despite admitting to FOUR bigamous marriages.
THE pipe-smoking collier at Rose Cottage, who had strangled his bigamous wife, found that hymns, particularly Lead Kindly Light, soothed his trembling soul in those final days when he bruised his knees in the prison chapel, begging forgiveness for his sins Gone was the swagger of the braggart who had only weeks earlier expressed his outrage in fulsome terms when advised that the hangman, Michael Billington, would receive a pounds 5 fee for stretching his neck.
Mrs Webb told the court that after her son's death she found that Thompson's divorce had not gone through and the marriage to Julian was bigamous.
AT a time when tying the knot is becoming less and less popular, nearly two marriages a week are bigamous - and, interestingly, almost half of those committing the crime also have convictions for fraud.
Now Jackson, 42, could face jail after police launched an investigation into the bigamous marriage.