Is It Legal To Have Multiple Spouses?  

        Polygamy or multiple marriages has been around for centuries. In fact, in ancient societies it was accepted and was not considered to be a taboo. However, as society and human values evolved, polygamy is no longer considered normal or legal but this has not stopped a minority of people from having multiple spouses.

        As per the current marriage law, only the first legal marriage is considered valid. Any marriages that take place after the first legal marriage would be considered invalid. However, when it comes to polygamy, it is not a ground for divorce because polygamist spouses enter in multiple marriages knowing the facts. It is considered to be a voluntary marriage arrangement.

        However, under certain circumstances, polygamy marriage could be granted a divorce. For instance, if the wife is underage, then it becomes a criminal offense. Also, as the wife is underage, the marriage automatically stands null and void.

        However, when it comes to polygamy, it is a broad term covering many aspects of multiple spouses.

        Polygyny: Refers to one man with multiple wives. This is an accepted norm in Mormon colonies that live in Utah and the neighboring states. It is also accepted in many African cultures and in the Middle East. However, in the United States, usually multiple marriages are not considered legal and the all wives other than the first one will not have any legal rights or benefits that are usually given to legal spouses.

        Polyandry: Refers to one woman with many husbands. In certain cultures this is acceptable and seen as a way to grow the population. In this concept, the woman can control not just the number of children she has but can also use it as a way to improve the survival chances of the children. However, again this concept is not considered legal in the US.

        Group Marriage: This is considered to be a blend of polygyny and polyandry where both the man and woman have multiple partners and they all live together as a family. In this type of arrangement, all partners share the responsibility not just with the finances but also with the parenting of the children.

        If you are a polygamist, you can be charged with bigamy depending on the number of spouses you have. However, usually this arrangement the spouses are aware of one another and live together. On the other hand, bigamy is when the spouse is unaware of other spouses.

        In the US, usually there is no interest in prosecuting polygamists and most communities that practice this type of arrangement are reserved and do not believe in mingling with the society in general. In the US, it has been seen that communities that believe in multiple spouses marry the first spouse legally and thereafter the spouses are gradually introduced into the family without a legal wedding ceremony. Therefore, it is difficult for the authorities to prove the charges of bigamy against the person.

        The authorities only get involved when underage girls are forced to marry. Depending on the age of the girl, the authorities can bring about charges of child abuse against the offender.

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Is It Legal To Have Multiple Spouses?
 

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