It’s not a typical case, and for most people this will be a nightmarish scenario, but there are rare instances wherethe person you thought you married is far from the person you thought they actually were. In some cases, you may even make the unpleasant discovery that the person you married is already married to someone else, or even several other people. What do you in a situation like this?

A Misdemeanor

In the state of Pennsylvania the act of being married to someone else is actually a criminal act known as Bigamy. This is a misdemeanor of the second degree, which means that it is not only against the law, but charges can be laid against the person.

The only time this is not considered a breach of law is if the other person was not aware the other spouse was alive, or the person and other spouse had been living apart for at least two years with the other spouse not knowing the person was alive, or, finally, the other person thought that a termination or annulment of the marriage had occurred but, in fact, it had not.

A person convicted of bigamy may face up to two years in prison, and this still applies if the pre-existing marriage was in another country. All marriages, regardless of whether they took place on US soil or not, are recognized by American law as valid.

This is an extremely complex case with elements of both family and criminal law involved. You should not attempt to navigate a situation this multi-faceted on your own. The assistance of an experienced attorney is going to be invaluable going forward in such a difficult situation. In addition to the usual divorce proceedings, there are many other factors that need to be considered to get through this experience, so make sure you get the right help, and talk to a lawyer.