It has been nearly two months since we discussed bigamy, or the act of being married to more than one person at the same time. Bigamy is against the law in Virginia; from a family law perspective, a marriage is void if one of the “spouses” was already married to a third person at the time of the wedding.
Bigamy charges are rare in Virginia, but they do occasionally occur. A Virginia man was jailed recently on two counts of bigamy, but he believes the charges are false and fueled by his first wife’s desire for “revenge.”
According to an interview the man conducted with WTVR-TV, he was first married in 2001, though he now says the marriage “wasn’t real.” After “several” years, his wife filed for divorce. The man says he received divorce papers in the mail, which he signed.
He later married again, but the relationship lasted just two weeks, and he believes that marriage was not valid -- which appears to be true, given that authorities and the first wife say his first marriage never ended. However, he and his current “wife” claim their marriage is legitimate.
Bigamy charges are serious. If convicted, the man could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. It could also lead to his current marriage being voided, meaning that legally, it never existed. This means that the couple has built up no marital property; instead, if the couple breaks up, they would be expected to walk away with the property they brought to the “marriage.”