Bigamy is a word which is not often used today, simply because it is often confused with polygamy. Bigamy and Polygamy are two different things. Bigamy means getting married to a different spouse without annulling the first marriage. The natural route of becoming remarried is to have the first marriage dissolved thru death, an annulment process or divorce. Anyone of these three processes frees the person, either thru United States Law or Church Law, and allows that person to remarry without legal consequences. Bigamy is an offense against the other person and is illegal in the United States.
The prosecution of a person accused of bigamy seeks to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is still legally married. This may be the case when a spouse loses a spouse in battle and is presumed dead or the couple separates without annulling the marriage. A lawyer must prove that the person caught in bigamy is still legally married thru a former marriage and while knowing that this was truly entered into a marriage contract with another person; lastly, the second marriage had the requirements of lawful marriage within the law.
Bigamy carries a fine between $500-$1000 and Up to ten years in prison
Before a person gets caught in a bigamist relationship they should be proactive in their approach. A spouse who enters into a bigamous relaitonship can also be prosecuted. If a potential spouse is suspected of being in a bigamous relationship it is better to ask the person to show their annulment papers from their first marriage. Especially if the person is from another country it may not be as easy to locate an original marriage or annulment record. It would be easier to locate an annulment record in the Catholic Church since every annulment is processed thru a juridical process and is very thorough.
Hire a Private Investigator
Many people who suspect a fiancee being married turn to public records in order to search for an annulment or marriage record of the person who is suspected of not being upright about being already married. A private investigator is a source of finding much not available to the common researcher. Many private investigators specialize in investigating bigamy, but can be costly.