If you remarry before your divorce is final, you could face jail time depending on where you live. The reason for this will be the fact that you have two spouses and this is illegal in every state. Until the divorce is final, you are still legally married to your soon to be ex. However, it is important to note that bigamy is treated differently by civil family law because your second marriage will technically not exist.
The Definition Of Bigamy
To understand what the consequences of your marriage will be, you need to understand what bigamy is. The legal definition for bigamy is when someone is married to 2 spouses at the same time and they are both alive and well. Your spouse may or may not know about each other and if they do and no-one takes steps to end the marriage, they will also be legally liable for bigamy.
Bigamy is different to polygamy which generally relates to multiple partners who all know about each other. In polygamy, all of the parties will enter the polygamous agreement consensually and understand what this means.
The Criminal Prosecution
It is important to note that you may not be pursued and prosecuted for the crime of bigamy if you did not enter the second marriage for illegal or fraudulent reasons. However, there is still a risk that the state may prosecute you and the stakes are very high. The consequences of bigamy will vary depending on the state and you need to be aware of this.
In Wisconsin, this is a felony while California views bigamy as a misdemeanor depending on the reason for the offense. In California, bigamy is punishable with a $10000 fine and up to a year in prison. However, other states will take this more seriously and you can face more time in prison.
Spouses who knowing enter and maintain a bigamous marriage will generally receive a lighter punishment. There are some states that do not require the prosecutor to bear the burden of proof to find you guilty. You will generally have the burden of proof and need to establish your innocence.
When looking for Divorce Attorneys Columbus Ohio at the civil code of most states, any bigamous marriage will be considered a void marriage. This means that the marriage will be illegal from the beginning. As the marriage never legally existed, it is possible to have it annulled. In order to have the marriage annulled, you or your second spouse will have to file a petition with the court as this will not automatically be done.
If you have the bigamous marriage annulled, you will reduce the risk of criminal prosecution. The only time you will still be prosecuted is when the second marriage existed for any fraudulent reasons. The prosecution will be dropped because the courts will generally determine that you have taken steps to reverse the bigamous marriage.
Getting remarried before your divorce is final is something that you need to avoid. The reason for this is the fact that you will be committing bigamy. The consequences of this will vary depending on the state and the possible defense that you present to the court.