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Man escapes bigamy charges due to statue of limitations

When most people hear the word bigamy, they may think of plural families in Utah or strange religious cults. While that type of bigamy may make the headlines, there probably are more cases that are less newsworthy, but more common. Bigamy is simply being married to more than one person at the same time. Sometimes it may happen inadvertently, when two people believe that they have legally divorced one another, but may have failed to complete the process. Other times, it may simply be fraud.

A case from Texas is one of deception. A man told his wife that their marriage was over and he put together a divorce online and left paperwork for her to sign. She never signed the documents, so the divorce was not effective and they remained legally married.

It turns out, within hours of filing his never completed divorce with his first wife, he had married his second wife. He also told his first wife the needed to reconcile and lived with her during the week and with his second wife on weekends.

After two and a half years after his second wedding, wife number one discovered his betrayal. When she finally reported him to the police, he was arrested and charged with bigamy, but within a few days his third anniversary passed and with it, the statute of limitations on the bigamy charge.

She quickly filed for a real divorce after she discovered what her husband had done. The lesson here is that do-it-yourself divorces carry potential problems and that working with an experienced divorce attorney is the best way to protect yourself in these situations.