In the state of Florida and pursuant to Florida Statute §826.01, it is illegal to have more than one husband or wife at the same time. Bigamy, which by definition is knowingly marrying a second person while already being married to another, is a third-degree felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
What’s the difference between bigamy and polygamy?
While often used interchangeably, bigamy and polygamy are different in an important way.
Bigamy refers to situations in which an individual is legally married to more than one partner, and generally, the bigamous relationship is kept secret. The two marital spouses are not aware of the other spouse when they get married.
Polygamy, on the other hand, also involves being married to more than one spouse; however, the relationship is not secretive. The spouses openly know about each other, and in some cases, they even share the same household.
Bigamy and the Law
Bigamy is illegal in Florida. While it may not always be intentional, for example, if your spouse didn’t realize that his or her previous divorce wasn’t finalized, it is a serious family law issue.
We’ve seen cases of marriage fraud in our practice, and it not only leads to an emotionally trying time for the spouse, it also comes with important financial implications during the divorce proceedings.
Because a bigamous marriage is based on fraud, it may not be considered valid in the eyes of the law, and this can lead to issues affecting spousal support, division of marital property, and other outcomes during a divorce. If there were a previous spouse, your marriage would be considered invalid and you would not be entitled to anything from your partner.
Bigamous marriages are grounds for an annulment and legal action should be pursued. At the Vasquez de Lara Law Group, we can help you understand your rights when it comes to important family law issues like bigamy and divorce. Contact us to schedule a confidential case evaluations to discuss your specific situation.