Bigamy: In Illinois, it’s not just a thing of the past

Many people think that bigamy is a thing of the past. Most people can barely handle one spouse – why would anyone want more? If you need help with bigamy, contact me, Chicago divorce lawyer David Wolkowitz – I might be able to help.

Causes of Bigamy

There are a couple reasons bigamists could be married to more than one person. They include:

  1. It’s a con: Bigamists might just be out to scam people out of their money and stuff. Some bigamists aren’t out for financial gain, but they lie about not being married so they can get married again.
  2. Stupidity or confusion: Some people are stupid. Some of those stupid people get married, think they are divorced, but aren’t. Then they get married again. This is becoming more popular due to increased immigration. For example, a person is married in Poland, immigrates to the United States, then tries to divorce the spouse in Poland – but the divorce never goes through.

The Illinois law on bigamy

Section 212 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act addresses bigamy, or “Prohibited Marriage.” It prohibits ”a marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties” is prohibited (750 ILCS 5/212 (a)). In other words, it prohibits bigamy.

The remedy to a bigamous marriage can be found in Section 301 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/301). To end a bigamous marriage, a court must enter an order declaring the marriage invalid; this was formally known as an annulment. A victim of bigamy would file a Petition for the Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage with the court, and procuring an order of invalidity would most likely be a simple matter or proving the bigamist was married at the time of the marriage the victim is not seeking to have declared invalid.

Dealing with bigamy in Illinois with a Chicago divorce lawyer

Bigamy is a serious harm to its victims. But, ending a bigamous marriage can be relatively simple because there often simply isn’t much to debate: it’s wrong, and it must end. However, if there are children involved, there may be complicated child custody matters to sort out. Further, bigamy can have an impact on who will inherit what should any of the spouses die during the bigamous marriages.

About the author: Contact Illinois family law attorney David Wolkowitz at 312-554-5433 or online. He is a family law and divorce attorney serving Chicago and the Counties of Cook, Champaign, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Areas of practice include divorce, uncontested divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, child support, and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”).