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 ?
COMPLAINT Charges said Judit Gherghiteanu, left, and Perla Montilla were victims of bigamy
It's not clear why female bigamy cases increased at that time, but Victorian England witnessed cultural changes in the latitude granted women to control their lives," Cohen says.
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: "A 38-year-old man, from South Shields, has been charged with bigamy.
She explained that by doing so, the possibility of bigamy can at least be eliminated.
The following year Emily was cautioned by police for bigamy
James Fenney for the defence told the court that Spencer had believed himself to be divorced and had admitted the bigamy as soon as he knew of it.
Giuliano Marchetto analyzes concepts of bigamy over the longue duree.
Since the discovery of Lyman's bigamy occurs fairly early, there's plenty of time for talk about the big issues: Truth, Deception, Life.
Tom Green, 55, was convicted in 2001 of violating the state law against polygamy but appealed the conviction arguing that the bigamy ban is a violation of his right to free exercise of religion.
Abstract: Beverly Schwartzberg, "'Lots of Them Did That': Desertion, Bigamy, and Marital Fluidity in Late-Nineteenth-Century America"