Back in October, Virginia joined the several U.S. states in which same-sex marriage is legal, following a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to hear an appeal of a lower court decision that overturned the state’s ban. Of course, same-sex couples looking to get married must follow the same rules as everybody else, in order for their marriage to be valid.
For instance, no Virginia marriage is valid if one of the spouses was still married to a third party at the time. Besides voiding the marriage, bigamy is also a crime, as one woman recently discovered.
Shortly after same-sex marriage was legalized, the woman applied for a marriage license in order to marry her girlfriend. By signing the license, the woman promised that she was not already married. But prosecutors said she actually was married to the father of her three children.
After the woman married her girlfriend, the couple took the kids and moved to Florida. In January, the husband called police to report that the woman had violated his visitation rights by moving out of state. He showed officers a marriage license and said that the marriage was not over.
On June 9, the woman pleaded guilty to felony bigamy and perjury charges, avoiding prison but receiving two years of probation and fines. An article about the case does not mention if her subsequent marriage has been officially voided yet.
Most marriages cannot be voided for reasons such as bigamy. Divorce can be complex, but the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney can make the difference.