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If a husband illegally marries another woman while still living

Resolved Question:

If a husband illegally marries another woman while still living with legal spouse can charges be criminal charges be filed? Who can wife turn to for legal restitution? Note: the husband and other woman filed for a marriage license, had a marriage ceremony, which was performed by a church licensed minster. They had a home wedding with witnesses. However, the marriage permit was never mailed in to the state. Therefore there was no formal proof as the permit was never register in the state licensing office.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 5 years ago.

Disclaimer
Laws vary drastically by state and country. It is impossible for an attorney to provide legal advice or legal services on JustAnswer. What follows is neither legal advice nor a legal service and may/not apply in your particular state. What follows is general information provided for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed. T-USA is not your attorney. No attorney-client privilege exists. Anything you write can be used in court if discovered by an opposing party.
The following information is provided for the purpose of encouraging you to seek, in person, the counsel of an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your particular state. It is essential to consult such an attorney as soon as possible.
By reading further, you understand and agree to all that is written above.

_____________________________________

Answer:


A person may not be married to two spouses simultaneously. A person who is married (or holds himself out as being married) to a second spouse while still married to the first spouse has committed bigamy.

In Texas, bigamy is usually charges as a third degree felony. T.P.C. 2501. A third degree felony carries up to a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence of 2-10 years. To report a felonious act, an individual should call the police. The police may then pursue the matter via an arrest, and the prosecutor may then choose to charge the individual with a crime. Reporting a crime does not usually require an attorney.
http://law.onecle.com/texas/penal/25.01.00.html

However, for obtaining a divorce (if you choose), you will want an attorney's representation. Your attorney will protect you in the asset distribution process and your attorney may be able to use your spouse's actions to assist you in obtaining a greater share of the marital property.

Unfortunately, the only civil action available to a victim of infidelity is an action based on "alienation of affection." Alienation of affection suits have been phased out in most states. To my knowledge, the following states still recognize alienation of affection claims: Hawaii, Illinois, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah. Therefore, a civil suit is not typically available to a victim of infidelity outside those states. However, again, your attorney may be able to help you obtain a greater percentage of marital assets, due to the conduct of one spouse or due to marital assets wasted by one spouse.

I'm sorry you're going through this. I hope the matter goes better for you from this point forward. Good luck!

If you need additional clarification, please ask a follow-up question and I will be happy to elaborate. Please remember that we cannot provide legal advice/services through JustAnswer.

Please click the green
Accept Button for each and every answer and please remember to leave Positive Feedback. Doing so ensures I will receive credit for my time and my effort spent answering your question. Bonuses are greatly appreciated.

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You should consult an attorney who is licensed to practice in your state about these matters. You can find an attorney licensed to practice law in your state through your state's lawyer referral services:
http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lris/directory/

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I'm not sure that I understand my rights since I've already tried calling the police. They did nothing. Can the prosecutor's office be contacted independently--aside from an actual arrest?. From my previous research, it seems only the injured party can file a complaint. The "other woman" who was led to believe my husband was single seems the only one with rights. I'm not sure I have any criminal or civil rights. Is my only recourse divorce on the basis of infidelity? My divorce attorney seems to think this bigamy cours of action is frivolous.
Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 5 years ago.

Disclaimer
Laws vary drastically by state and country. It is impossible for an attorney to provide legal advice or legal services on JustAnswer. What follows is neither legal advice nor a legal service and may/not apply in your particular state. What follows is general information provided for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed. T-USA is not your attorney. No attorney-client privilege exists. Anything you write can be used in court if discovered by an opposing party.
The following information is provided for the purpose of encouraging you to seek, in person, the counsel of an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your particular state. It is essential to consult such an attorney as soon as possible.
By reading further, you understand and agree to all that is written above.

_____________________________________

Answer:


I see nothing in the statute that prohibits the first wife from filing a criminal complaint, as opposed to the second wife.

There is no reason why an individual cannot contact the prosecutor's office directly, though the prosecutor's office may direct the individual to follow other procedural matters (depending on the local procedures).

Relevant grounds for divorce in Texas might include: abandonment, living seperate and apart for 3 years or more, adultery, and conviction of a felony (if convicted of bigamy prior to the divorce). You should ask your attorney why he wishes to pursue the particular ground for divorce he has suggested. He is familiar with the details of your situation and can best explain the reason to pursue that avenue. Regardless, it is important to understand that bigamy is not, itself, a grounds for divorce, but that bigamy fits into some of the grounds listed above. However, adulterous acts, including bigamy, may potentially allow a spouse to recover disproportionately in a divorce in some circumstances (such as when one spouse dissipates marital assets for the purpose of the bigamous relationship).

Good luck!

Please click the green Accept Button for each and every answer and please remember to leave Positive Feedback. Doing so ensures I will receive credit for my time and my effort spent answering your question. Bonuses are greatly appreciated.

If you need additional clarification, please ask a follow-up question and I will be happy to elaborate. Please remember that we cannot provide legal advice/services through JustAnswer.

When leaving Feedback, please remember that Feedback is left for me as an answerer, rather than the content of the answer. While I enjoy to providing customers with the answers they want to hear, doing so is not always possible.


You should consult an attorney who is licensed to practice in your state about these matters. You can find an attorney licensed to practice law in your state through your state's lawyer referral services:
http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/lris/directory/



Edited by T-USA on 10/2/2009 at 9:48 AM EST
Thoreau (T-USA), Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9176
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