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Bigamy and legal validity of 2nd marriage

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#1
Hi everyone,

I have discovered a bigamist in the family tree and have some questions. Essentially the man married in Scotland, at some point left his wife and remarried another woman in England. He did divorce his first wife (or rather it seems she filed the divorce against him), but there was an overlap of about a year when he was 'married' to both. Legally where does the 2nd marriage stand? i.e. would the 2nd marriage actually be deemed legal after the divorce came through? We're talking more modern times, hence why I'm not putting in any specifics.

Many thanks!
Paula
 

Elwyn

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#2
Paula,

I am not a lawyer but I did come across a situation like that many years ago in the course of my work as a civil servant. Both marriages were in England but I am not sure that makes any difference in this case. The basic legal advice I got was that (in the UK anyway) you can only be married validly once (at any one time). If the first marriage was valid and had not been terminated by death, divorce etc, then the second marriage was “void ab initio”. It was never a valid marriage, and so could not later be legitimized by the first marriage ending in a divorce. The “2nd” couple therefore would need to go through another ceremony, after the 1st had ended in divorce, in order for them to be lawfully married.
 
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#4
Paula,

I am not a lawyer but I did come across a situation like that many years ago in the course of my work as a civil servant. Both marriages were in England but I am not sure that makes any difference in this case. The basic legal advice I got was that (in the UK anyway) you can only be married once. If the first marriage was valid and had not been terminated by death, divorce etc, then the second marriage was “void ab initio”. It was never a valid marriage, and so could not later be legitimized by the first marriage ending in a divorce. The “2nd” couple therefore would need to go through another ceremony, after the 1st had ended in divorce, in order for them to be lawfully married.
Thanks, as I suspected! Good to know the correct terminology too- Latin not my strong point!
 

gibbo

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#8
Early 1940"s my grandmother was married to a man in England who did a runner on her and he remarried in Scotland, when my grandmother found out she reported him. He got 6 months in jail for bigamy and his 2nd marriage was annulled. After his jail time and the divorce went through from his first marriage he then went on to [re]marry the 2nd wife.
 

Ladybird1300

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#9
I have an ancestor who was a polygamist, he came from Warwickshire and was married in Nuneaton 1836. I presumed he abandoned her and their two sons and came to London where he married for a second time to a widow at Shoreditch in 1839. :eek::eek:
In 1846 he married for a third time at Stepney, but the widow's nephew made the authorities aware that they were trying to escape London after the marriage, he was lucky not to get a prison sentence.
In 1848 his first wife died so he remarried his second wife at Hackney in 1853 which then made this marriage legal:rolleyes:

What a carry on!!! My ancestor was a widow when she met him, my g g grandmother was born in 1826 in London and when her mother went to the Parish for help, they was described as a ribbon weaver and con man.
I have found two other marriages that could possibly be him, one in Birmingham in 1826 and another in London 1834 at Stepney. These ones I can't prove but there is a good chance it was him :oops::oops:

Amanda
 

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