What is the punishment for a second marriage without divorce?

Depending upon where you live, if you wed before your divorce is last, you might possibly go to prison. You have 2 partners: the one you have not separated yet and the one you simply wed.

This is bigamy, and it is a criminal activity in every state. You can still be prosecuted in criminal court; however you do not have to divorce to end the marriage. You can annul it. So what is the punishment for a second marriage without divorce?

Definition of Bigamy

Lawfully, bigamy indicates being wed to 2 partners at the same time, both of whom live. They may or may not know about each other.

If either of them is mindful of the presence of your other partner and does not take actions to end the marriage, she is lawfully accountable for bigamy.

Bigamy is not the same as polygamy, which usually includes numerous partners, all of whom understand about each other and participate in the plan consensually. Thus you can’t be get married before divorce is final.


Unless you participated in your second marriage for a deceitful or prohibited factor, such as financial gain, your state may not pursue you to found guilty and sentence you for the criminal activity. You still run the danger, and the stakes might be high.

Bigamy is a felony in Wisconsin. In California, depending upon the factor for your offense, bigamy is often a misdemeanor. It’s punishable by approximately a year in jail in California and a fine of as much as $10,000.

Partners who intentionally keep a bigamous marriage may get a somewhat lighter charge. In some places, the district attorney does not even have the concern of evidence to persuade a court that you are guilty of second marriage without divorce first one.

You have the concern of evidence to develop your innocence.


Family Law

Under the civil code of most states, a bigamous marriage is a “space” marriage. This indicates that some scenario exists that makes it prohibited from its creation.

It can’t lawfully exist, so it can be annulled. Either you or your second partner would have to petition the court for an annulment to eliminate the marriage. It does not occur instantly.

After this is achieved, it’s not likely that you’d run the risk of prosecution unless some deceitful aspect also exists.

Possible Defenses

In California, you can’t merely say that you believed your first partner separated you. Even an annulment takes a while in most states; however the fact that you’ve at least taken actions to correct your error may assist in your defense.

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