In the case of Bigamy, court may grant custody of child to father because in such a situation it is not in the interest and welfare of the child that custody be given to mother. This is settled law by Hon’ble Supreme Court that interest and welfare of child is of paramount importance in the matter of custody of child.
Implications of Bigamy: When a spouse suspects that his or her married loved one is engaging in romantic relationships with others, it is usually extramarital affairs. However, in a rare number of cases, these situations involve bigamy. If the spouse believes it is necessary, he or she may turn the person in and ensure justice carries out the necessary penalties when there is sufficient evidence for it. In some states and in specific circumstances, this person may sue for damages for pain and suffering and the effects of the second or additional marriage on his or her reputation in the community.
Proof of Bigamy: While the spouse does not necessarily need proof of the act of bigamy for the criminal courts, he or she would need it for the civil courts. The evidence usually exists in phone calls, emails, text, chat messages and personal interactions. If the spouse leaves for a work conference and is gone for days or weeks at a time, this could increase the strength of proof that he or she has already married another person. Collecting the evidence may help the person sue the spouse for damages. However, the evidence may also convict him of criminal bigamy with a judge or jury.
What to Do when Accused: Bigamy accusations generally occur when there is some proof that the person did commit the crime. A spouse or friend may notice that the individual is getting married when the previous spouse is still legally his or her husband or wife. Police officers may also accuse the person when the documentation exists that a marriage is still in effect. Other times, the allegations arise when the other spouse was gone for years but there exists proof that he or she is alive. The person accused must provide proof that he or she is not committing bigamy or that there is sufficient evidence of good faith.
Good faith exists when the person was unable to contact a spouse for a certain number of years based on the state laws. Sometimes, this is five years, for others, it is seven years. The spouse would believe that the other person is either no longer alive or there exists no legal way to finalize a divorce without any method of contact or communication. Some states may help the person dissolve the legal marriage after the number of years passes so he or she may remarry someone else. It is usually crucial to hire a lawyer to ensure no laws are in violation when the client wants to remarry.
Proving Innocence: When a person faces charges that he or she committed bigamy, it is crucial to ensure that the courts understand he or she did not do so with intention. However, if the individual is actually innocent of the charges, then it is more important to gather as much evidence of the situation and present the information I the courtroom to prove innocence. This usually requires a criminal defense lawyer to help gather evidence, present the case and use an expert witness if necessary. The evidence usually exists through documentation such as a marriage license, divorce papers with the complete data and court documents that explain other similar matters related to the case.
Legally dissolved marriages generally have extensive paperwork unless the process occurred in a location where this was not possible or where the area uses some other procedure such as overseas. However, the local law enforcement authorities may charge the person with bigamy if there is a lack of evidence and the previous spouse is still living. Then, the accused will need a lawyer to gather evidence that is either lacking or difficult to track. When the spouse is actually dead, the lawyer will need to help the accused prove that the new marriage occurred after the legal date of death.
Reference: Section 494 of Indian Penal Code