Non-Common Law Marriage States

Discussion in 'Problems and Solutions' started by PassionatePatriarch, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. PassionatePatriarch

    PassionatePatriarch Member Male

    Hey all!

    So, correct me if I'm wrong in my understanding here, but I am under the impression that the biggest roadblock to practicing polygyny is common law marriage. Because it seems that common law marriage is the net that state legal systems use to catch polygynists who avoid criminal charges of bigamy by only legally marrying one wife.

    So what about states like my home state of New York, where common law marriage is abolished? It's been gone since like 1938 I think. So let's say a man in New York legally marries one wife...then takes on another wife but doesn't legally marry her. He's not a bigamist. But there are no common law marriages or cohabitation laws that would grant the second wive any claim to "legal" marital rights. So is he in the clear then to just simply cohabitate without fear?

    or are there federal laws at play here too that I'm not taking into account?

    This is a big deal because I really want to get my ducks in a row before I start speaking publicly about any of this on youtube. To my knowledge there are onlylike 10 states left that recognize common law marriage. Are people in the other states really in the clear? Something tells me probably not.
    andrew likes this.
  2. ZecAustin

    ZecAustin Esteemed Member Male

    You will get a lot of responses on this PP but put the most weight on Andrew's. I'm not saying that no one will have anything valid to say but his will be the most studied thorough.
  3. rockfox

    rockfox Well-Known Member Male

    Check your adultery laws and jurisprudence, rarely enforced but that would be the way to go against you if bigamy didn't apply. Check the actual bigamy statute as well. And talk to several lawyers.

    But that is only one half of the legal equation. Divorce and child support issues are what are most likely to cause you trouble should any part of the PM fail. That or CPS.
  4. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Male

    I feel like I'm supposed to say something profound here, :eek: but @PassionatePatriarch, basically all of your instincts are correct. The biggest problem is informal (or "common law") marriage, but just because you're not in an informal marriage state doesn't mean you're "in the clear".

    You should be able to figure out NY's bigamy statute for yourself and ensure that it doesn't apply to informal arrangements or cohabitation, and it sounds like you've already checked that there is no applicable cohabitation or adultery law. As rockfox points out, most of your legal risk is going to come from a pissed off ex who reams you over child support or a do-gooder who calls CPS on you.

    No federal law that I'm aware of, but I'm not giving you or anyone else legal advice, I'm just thinking out loud. The Mann Act used to be used against Mormons, but I don't even know if that's still a law. I do know that at some point in its history it was reined in to focus more particularly on sex trafficking and not so broadly on just anything deemed 'immoral' (such as polygamy). I'm not aware of any other federal issues (other than their deep involvement in child support, but that's driven by the baby mama, not federal law enforcement officials).

    Hope that helps!
    PassionatePatriarch likes this.
  5. mystic

    mystic Well-Known Member Male

    Aside from any matter of common-law marriage, to merely advocate for polygamy can get you in trouble in some places. Such a law may not be generally enforced but it's still good to be in the know, so check the statutes where you live.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  6. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Male

    Man, those Michiganders are craaaaazy! I wonder if that would pass constitutional review....

    Good point, though, in that if you're going to be thorough, check your state's laws re conspiracy, incitement, and being an accessory. Lots of ways for an ornery prosecutor to get in your bizness.
  7. Slumberfreeze

    Slumberfreeze Esteemed Member Male

    rustywest4, rockfox, cnystrom and 4 others like this.
  8. Mojo

    Mojo Esteemed Member Male

    I don't study law, and won't be good for advice, but I do know the Mann act was used as a broad excuse for a lot of arrests, similar to racketeering laws.
    PassionatePatriarch and andrew like this.
  9. PassionatePatriarch

    PassionatePatriarch Member Male

    Thank you all for your responses. I will definitely look into the Mann act as I've never come across it before. And will double check the cohabitation laws for potential adultery hangups. But i gotta say-- for once I'm GLAD to be in New York state haha. This liberal bastion was finally good for something lol! No common law marriage is a nice obstacle not to have to worry about.

    That michegan law...absolutely insane. If that is not convincing enough evidence for a Christian that the war on polygyny is totally antichrist --as the country is celebrating gay "marriage"--then they are totally blind.

    This is good stuff. Thabms again guys!
  10. Mojo

    Mojo Esteemed Member Male

    Good find. It might be one of those "is that still on the books?" law though. It looks like it may date to the 19th century and reaffirmed in 1931 and 1948. Maybe nobody has challenged it in over 80 years.
  11. rockfox

    rockfox Well-Known Member Male

    The Michigan law would quickly run afoul of religious freedom and free speech. Michigan is home to significant Islamic populations, any attempt to enforce that law would quickly become a political third rail.
  12. cnystrom

    cnystrom Esteemed Member Male

    I clicked "like" but I do not like it at all.
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  13. cnystrom

    cnystrom Esteemed Member Male

    I have them figured out. They do not really care if the law is enforceable or not. They will not prosecute using it directly. That would give you standing to challenge it, which they do not want you to do. What they do is put it on the books, and then they can use it in other ways to harass you, such as CPS cases, etc.

    "The family is involved in what could be a felony offence by advocating polygamy, so we need to remove the children."
  14. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Male

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  15. mommyof4ms

    mommyof4ms Member Female

    The link takes you to the current 2018 Michigan penal code...and this particular portion has been in effect since 1931.
    Kevin likes this.
  16. mystic

    mystic Well-Known Member Male

    Right. I assumed it was clear that this is current Michigan law. The site is
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  17. rockfox

    rockfox Well-Known Member Male

    You are dead on. CPS is also the scariest part of this.

    On the one hand, with all the polygamy shows on TLC and the like there would seem to be little cultural appetite for persecuting PM families. On the other hand, CPS cases usually get little attention and a sink full of dirty dishes can be enough to cost you your children.

    Although of all the famous polygamy families, prosecuted and not, I'm only familiar with CPS using it to take children once; and I think he had already had children taken and so was liable to loose any more he had. Well, there is the Texas FLDS case; though you have the whole child brides thing making them a target.
  18. lutherangirl

    lutherangirl Well-Known Member Female

    OH MY GOSH! Thanks for posting this information. I had no idea that even advocating polygamy was against the law. That's very scary.
  19. Mojo

    Mojo Esteemed Member Male

    My reply may have been written in a confusing manner. I realize it is a current law, but it was not passed recently. It dates to the 19century, and was reaffirmed about 70 years ago.

    We always see obsolete laws against spitting, mandating side saddle, anti-miscegenation, or whatever. They just get overlooked and never applied.

    I know it's an actual law, but who is enforcing it? What legislator, or law enforcement agency even knows it's there?
    andrew likes this.
  20. andrew

    andrew Administrator Staff Member Male

    Right. No cause for alarm. I'm with Chris: The law is on the books only because it serves other, more oblique purposes. Very unlikely that it would be held enforceable today even if the state authorities tried.
    PassionatePatriarch likes this.