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Questions about Polygamy Laws

Polygamy is a family unit that consists of one person married to multiple spouses at the same time. The act of polygamy is illegal in the United States but is still practiced in many parts of the world. Even with polygamy being a crime, many people continue to marry multiple spouses. When discovered, polygamy can come as a shattering blow to the person affected. It also can have far reaching legal implications. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer frequently answer questions related to laws governing polygamy. Take a look at the top five polygamy questions answered on JustAnswer.

Are there different forms of polygamy?

There are three forms of polygamy. Polygyny, which is a family unit consisting of one man with multiple wives; polyandry, where the family unit consists of one woman and multiple husbands; and group marriage, which is a family unit consisting of multiple husbands and multiple wives.

Is it illegal for a person to have multiple spouses and what is the penalty for this?

In the United States, it is illegal for anyone to have more than one spouse at a time. A person who marries multiple individuals at a time would be seen to have committed the crime of polygamy and also perjury by way of lying on subsequent marriage licenses. Both these crimes are felonies and they both can result in jail time.

Is polygamy legal in the United States?

Polygamy is not legal in the United States. If a person marries two or more people, the subsequent marriages are not recognized. Polygamy is considered a crime and the perpetrator of the crime can be legally prosecuted.

Can a wife file against her husband for practicing polygamy if he has another wife in another country?

Polygamy marriage is a felony in the United States. The actions of the person who marries more than one spouse will determine whether or not they have committed polygamy. If a person is already married in another country and remarries in the United States or any other country, it could be considered to be polygamy and the person can be prosecuted in the United States. However, if the person is married by a procedure other than a legal procedure or ceremony, then it may not be considered polygamy but might be considered adultery. As a wife with a polygamous husband, if you are unsure of your legal rights, you can ask Family Lawyers on JustAnswer for their expert legal insights.

Is there any legal arrangement comparable to polygamy?

There could be legal arrangements that can be entered into, that are comparable to polygamy as long as each party gives their informed consent, and no more than two people try to enter a legal marriage. Three or more people can purchase a home together, share bank accounts and be authorized signatories on credit cards. Each party involved can draft a will leaving his/her property to the other parties, to be divided equally in the event of his death. If there are children between any two parties, they can have paperwork drawn up stating who would get the child custody in the event of his/her death. However, these agreements do not constitute marriage.

Since these agreements do not constitute a marriage, they would not entitle you to any state or federal benefits that a married couple are allowed. You may have issues with insurance companies due to the fact that most insurance companies will only ensure a spouse or domestic partner. Hospital visitations may also pose to be a problem.

These are just some of the many questions about polygamy that have been answered by lawyers on JustAnswer. There are times when you need answers to your questions quickly. You may not know whether or not you should retain a lawyer and discussing with family and friends can sometimes be awkward. A recourse available under such circumstances is to bring your questions to Lawyers on JustAnswer for quick, insightful and legally knowledgeable answers.
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