The term bigamy is defined as getting married to one person while legally married to another person. In Illinois, committing bigamy is a Class 4 felony. If a person is found guilty of this crime, he or she can be sentenced to up to three years in prison. That takes care of the criminal part.
Among the list of ‘Prohibited Marriages’ in Illinois is a “marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties.” It is number one on the list. It is known as ‘bigamy’. How do you end a bigamous prohibited marriage?
The court must declare the marriage invalid. It used to be known as an ‘annulment’. The reason for the invalidity is that bigamy is simply prohibited.
There may be a child support issue. This is resolved by Illinois child support laws. The support and care of children is always a top priority to the court.
There may be a maintenance issue. There is a statute that addresses this-Section 702 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
‘…the court may allow the petitioner maintenance in the same manner as in other cases of dissolution of marriage. No such allowance shall be made as will be inconsistent with the rights of such other spouse or spouses. The court will consider this before the granting of such maintenance.’
The court will have to look at all of the facts involved. Those of the spouse who was validly married before the bigamous marriage. The spouse of that person (who may have had no idea that this was going on). The person who finds that he or she is not validly married because of the bigamous marriage (who may also have had no idea this was going on).
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