UK Family Law
UK Family Law Questions Answered by Verified Experts
1. You only have committed the offence of bigamy under UK law if Pakistan does not allow you to marry more than one person. In other ways, polygamy has to be illegal in Pakistan for you to have committed the offence of Bigamy under the UK Bigamy Act. UK law only criminalises bigamy if more than one marriage is illegal in both the UK and the country (Pakistan) in which the second marriage took place. So you have only committed a criminal offence under UK bigamy law if Pakistan criminalises or does not allow more than one marriage. However, if Pakistan allows more than one marriage then you have not committed an offence under UK Bigamy law.
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3. Yes, the legal position would still be the same if you married, say in one of the Arab countries where more than one marraige is legal. The law is the same if your second marriage is in any country where a second marriage is lawful, not just in Pakistan. For example, if you married for the second time in South Africa (like Jacob Zuma) where second marriages are lawful, then you would not be able to be prosecuted for bigamy upon your return to the UK as the second marriage would have been lawful under South African law, a country in which polygamy is lawful.
4. If you are resident in the UK there is nothing to prevent the second wife from suing for divorce in the UK. She merely has to found jurisdiction by serving you in the UK. However, once divorce proceedings have started in Pakistan, then a second set of proceedings cannot be started in the UK. Once there is a divorce in the UK, then the usual ancilliary order relating to maintenance for children for example would apply. It would make no difference that you were married twice. Allowance would merely be made for that fact.