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 ?
He married three times, twice bigamously, and fathered at least fourteen children by five women.
Her third husband threw her out after three of his children died in her "care" and she married her last died in her last husband, widower Frederick Cotton, bigamously.
The ex-soldier - who calls himself Boom and falsely claimed he had been in the SAS and the US Rangers - took them to Texas with girlfriend Sandra MacGregor, who he later married bigamously.
Mairie, 42, and Kielarsky, 47, were married when she discovered that he had also bigamously wed Russian Oxana Mazarenko.
And the jury also found Susan Johal not guilty of an earlier allegation that she had married bigamously while she was still legally married to her first husband.
Simon's mum Lucy, whom Peter wed before bigamously marrying Shelley, is dying of cancer and she wants him to raise the boy, who he's not seen for five years.
The court was told Pearson, then 31, who lived in Wordsworth avenue, had married welder Malcolm Pearson bigamously in 1986 - days after the birth of their daughter Rachel.
But she said she had shown it to the vicar, denied knowingly marrying Mr Stockdale bigamously, and alleged Mr Atkinson had something to do with setting this up.
In February 1885 she bigamously married a drover named Jack Bates at Nowra in New South Wales.
A 63-year-old woman who died in an accidental fire at her home at Conwy was due to face a crown court trial for bigamously marrying her late husband.
Thompson married Mr Webb bigamously in 1991 while still married to first husband Lee Wyatt.
DENA THOMPSON married Julian Webb bigamously in 1991 while still married to first husband Lee Wyatt.