Bigamy

florida criminal defense attorney

Any married person with a living spouse who marries another person is considered a bigamist. Florida criminalizes this act and penalizes individuals caught committing bigamy. The illegality of the act also extends to the individual the married person is marrying as Florida Statute § 826.03 states that you cannot knowingly marry the husband or wife of another person.

The purpose of this statute is to ensure that bigamy does not occur in Florida, not to imprison those who may have made an honest mistake. Ensure that you are not wrongfully convicted for bigamy by securing the legal defense of a seasoned attorney.

The Orlando bigamy defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have handled numerous cases like yours and have settled such issues on the most favorable terms of the accused. We understand that your situation may be complex and that the paperwork may not tell the full story. We are here to serve as your legal advocate and ensure that Florida’s criminal justice system does right by you.

Who is Considered a Bigamist in Florida?

Entering into marriage with a person who is currently married puts both spouses in a legal predicament. Depending on the details of the relationship and marriage, both spouses can potentially be charged with bigamy. The crime of bigamy is outlined under Statute 826.01 as:

 

Whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries another person shall, except in the cases mentioned in s. 826.02, be guilty of a felony of the third degree.”

 

The most obvious bigamy charge is against a person who was still married to another person upon the inception of a new marriage. However, if you are marrying a person and know they’re still legally married to someone else, you can be charged with bigamy as well.

Can I Get a Divorce Under a Bigamous Marriage?

In Florida, a bigamous marriage is void from inception. That means if you enter into a bigamous marriage, it’s not considered legal. When a marriage isn’t legal, there’s no need to go through a divorce to end the marriage in the eyes of the law. Likewise, an annulment is not necessary either.

There might be other circumstances, however, besides the legality of the marriage that need to be brought before a judge including:

  • Division of assets
  • Child custody
  • Child support

For any of these situations, it’s in the best interest of both parties to seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney who has experience with custody cases.

Penalties for Bigamy in Florida

Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Florida punishable by:

  • Up to 5 years in prison; or
  • Up to 5 years of probation; and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

State prosecutors have the burden of proof when charging an individual with bigamy. In Florida, that means that they must prove the following factors beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You were married and married a second person; or
  • You knew someone was married and still married him or her

If the prosecution can prove either of these to be true, they can legally convict you of bigamy. Criminal penalties may also be enhanced if you have a criminal history or if any other aggravating factors are present.

Defending Against Bigamy Charges

While bigamy is illegal in Florida, there are a few exceptions to the crime:

  • You had reason to believe that your spouse was dead
  • Your prior spouse has voluntarily deserted you and remained absent for three years; thus you had no way of knowing whether or not your spouse was living
  • Your matrimony bonds had been dissolved
  • A domestic or foreign court entered an invalid judgment purporting to terminate or annul the prior marriage, and you did not know that the judgment was invalid
  • You reasonably believed that it was legal for you to remarry

Merely asserting a defense to the charges is only the beginning. You must also provide facts and evidence supporting your assertion. That is where we step in. Our team of attorneys is exceptionally skilled at presenting defenses to criminal charges, and we can do the same for you.

Orlando Bigamy Defense Lawyers

The Orlando bigamy defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are former state and local prosecutors with over 100 years of combined experience. We understand the urgency of clearing your name of these charges which is why we’ll work expeditiously to ensure that your case is settled on the most favorable terms. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.