Bigamy isn’t totally dead – it can be just one evil trick up the con artist’s sleeve. For victim’s of bigamy, then question then becomes “How do I end a bigamous marriage?”
Section 212 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act – the Illinois law governing marriage and divorces – is entitled “Prohibited Marriage.” It prohibits “a marriage entered into prior to the dissolution of an earlier marriage of one of the parties” is prohibited (750 ILCS 5/212 (a)). In other words, it prohibits bigamy.
The remedy to a bigamous marriage can be found in Section 301 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/301). To end a bigamous marriage, a court must enter an order declaring the marriage invalid; this was formally known as an annulment. A victim of bigamy would file a Petition for the Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage with the court, and procuring an order of invalidity would most likely be a simple matter or proving the bigamist was married at the time of the marriage the victim is not seeking to have declared invalid.
A victim of bigamy may find him or herself in that situation because of several methods used by the bigamist. For instance, the bigamist may claim never to have been previously married. Or, the bigamist might claim to be divorced from a previous spouse, when actually there was no divorce, or the divorce was obtain fraudulently.
Bigamy is a serious harm to its victims. But, ending a bigamous marriage can be relatively simple because there often simply isn’t much to debate: it’s wrong, and it must end. However, if there are children involved, there may be complicated child custody matters to sort out.