Imagine that you are in a romantic relationship with someone. All is well between both of you, and you are seem so sure that you want to be with that person for the rest of your life. However, issues may be inevitable just like in any other relationships. Disagreements and misunderstandings are common in most relationships, to which the couple should solve at the end of the day.
But what if there is a “third party” in your relationship? If you are not married yet, breaking up can be an option, albeit can be hard to do. In worst cases, you find out that someone else, aside from you, is married to your spouse. It may sound like this came straight from a soap opera; unfortunately, this happens in real life.
In such cases, it is best to hire divorce lawyers to handle the case. For one thing, being married to two living spouses at the same time is punishable by law. At the same time, it can also cause stress to the unsuspecting spouses. This kind of legal case is called bigamy and should seek legal advice from the best divorce lawyers in your area.
All about bigamy
Bigamy refers to a person’s marriage to two people simultaneously. This case is similar to polygamy, only that the latter means getting married to more than two spouses. Bigamy can either be intentional or unintentional. Nevertheless, bigamy is against the law and is considered a punishable crime.
In an intentional bigamy case, the spouse marries a second spouse even if the former is fully aware that he/she is still married to the first spouse. An unintentional bigamy case, on the other hand, may occur if the person marries a second spouse thinking that the former’s marriage has already been dissolved.
In the US, bigamy is punishable by civil and criminal law. The person who will be proven to have committed bigamy can be jailed or have to pay a fine. The person can be charged with bigamy if he or she is proven to have committed the following:
- The marriage between the two spouses are considered legal and valid
- The marriage is not dissolved/no divorce occurred
- One of the spouses married another person, and both marriages are considered legal and valid
You may be wondering how a person commits bigamy, given that a marriage license is needed before getting married. As mentioned, bigamy can either be intentional or unintentional. For example, the person may have forged important documents in order to marry another person while still considered married to another.
There are also instances wherein the person thought the divorce with a former spouse was final. Or the other spouse is presumed dead but is actually alive. If the person married another person without any confirmation of the abovementioned situations, then it will be deemed as unintentional bigamy. Then again, the verdict may vary depending on the state.
What happens to the bigamous marriage?
In a legal sense, the bigamous marriage may be deemed invalid especially if it will be proven that the other person is still married to the first spouse. The succeeding consequences can be devastating especially for the second spouse. He or she may experience mental and emotional stress upon learning of their bigamous marriage.
As for spousal support, the aggrieved spouse can file a civil suit against the person who committed bigamy. However, some states may not allow this if the case is based on bigamy. In such cases, the spouse can consult spousal support lawyers regarding this matter.
Bigamy can also apply to same-sex married couples, which are mostly applicable in states that allow same-sex marriage. In such cases, the spouse can also consult divorce lawyers in dealing with the case.
What about child support?
Children who are born in a bigamous marriage are usually entitled to be given child support by the spouse who committed bigamy. Likewise, the children are also entitled to legal rights to real estate and properties when one or both parents have already passed on.
In other words, children born in a bigamous marriage can also have the same rights as children born from the first marriage. Child support lawyers will guide you with regards to this kind of cases.
Everyone wants to get married to the love of their lives. However, finding out that you are in a bigamous marriage can be one of the worst nightmares. If you are a victim of such circumstance, you can contact family lawyers to handle your case. Find top-rated divorce lawyers in Fairfax VA for your legal concerns.