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(bĭ`gəmē), crime of marrying during the continuance of a lawful marriage. Bigamy is not committed if a prior marriage has been terminated by a divorcedivorce,
partial or total dissolution of a marriage by the judgment of a court. Partial dissolution is a divorce "from bed and board," a decree of judicial separation, leaving the parties officially married while forbidding cohabitation.
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 or a decree of nullity of marriagenullity of marriage,
in law, an unlawful marriage that is either void or voidable because of conditions existing at the time of the marriage. A bigamous or incestuous marriage, for example, is void, and there is no need to bring a suit to obtain a decree declaring it void.
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. In the United States if a husband or wife is absent and unheard of for seven (or in some states five) years and not known to be alive, he or she is presumed dead, and remarriage by the other spouse is not bigamous. It is not necessarily a defense to a charge of bigamy that the offending party believed in good faith that he was divorced or that his previous marriage was not lawful.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1878 that plurality of wives (polygamy), as originally permitted by the Mormon religion, violated criminal law and was not defensible as an exercise of religious liberty. The Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy in 1890, but the practice has persisted among some, although it has been rarely prosecuted.



and polygamy, in Soviet criminal law, cohabitation of a man with two or several women, provided that the man establishes a household separately with each of the women or simultaneously with all of them. In either case it is insignificant whether the marriages with these women have been registered. It is sufficient to establish the facts of cohabitation and keeping house together.

The social danger of bigamy is that it hinders the actual emancipation of women and violates the principle of monogamy. The law provides for punitive measures of deprivation of freedom for up to one year or correctional tasks for the same term (see, for example, the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, arts. 235–36). Criminal responsibility for bigamy and polygamy is provided for by the legislation of the Azerbaijan, Armenian, Georgian, Kirghiz, Tadzhik, Turkmen, and Uzbek Soviet socialist republics and in the RSFSR in several autonomous Soviet socialist republics and national okrugs (the Bashkir, Buriat, Dagestan, Kabarda-Balkar, and Tatar autonomous Soviet socialist republics, Adygei and Gorno-Altai autonomous oblasts, and Aga-Buriat, Komi-Permiak, and Koriak national okrugs)—that is, where the vestiges of a tribal way of life have not been completely eradicated.

Bigamy and polygamy should be distinguished from illegal registration of marriage with two or several women. The legislation of all the union republics prohibits the registration of a marriage without the dissolution of a previous marriage. Failure to comply with this legislation constitutes a special form of crime (for example, the Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 201).



the crime of marrying a person while one is still legally married to someone else
References in periodicals archive ?
He also acknowledged the marriage in letters and, though he stole most of them from her after he met an heiress whom he bigamously married, her parents had held on to two of them, which conclusively proved the marriage to be valid.
She was the daughter of owner Meg Richardson and was put through the mill, as a drug addict and alcoholic who was married three times, once bigamously.
He is also serving time for trying to bigamously marry Simone Banarjee, from Oban.
Holloway spend four years away and met and bigamously married Ann Kennett.
He was also convicted of trying to bigamously marry Scottish nurse Simone Banerjee, 41.
He was Liverpudlian George Baugh who abandoned his family, including Cattrall's mum, in 1938 and bigamously married a woman in Ireland, raising four children, before emigrating to Australia.
According to Gordon, Mace was married three times, twice bigamously, and fathered at least fourteen children by five different women.
A friend of Georgina's said: "She was convinced he had married her bigamously.
A FORMER clergyman and policeman will stand trial next year for bigamously marrying a Midland woman.
By her own admission, Julian Webb was one of a string of men she preyed upon, first marrying him bigamously before making him believe she had secured him work with a newspaper in Florida.
Hutchings first made headlines in 2000 when he was given a 15-month suspended prison term after being found guilty by a Teesside Crown Court jury of bigamously marrying two women while still wed to his legitimate wife in Northern Ireland.
Mr Webb, 31, who Thompson married bigamously, was found dead in bed at their home in Yapton, near Arundel.