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Hello readers! In this week's article, I will be answering an emailed question regarding multiple marriages. โดย Joey

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MULTIPLE MARRIAGES - POLYGAMY

The week's question comes from “AT”, who wants to know..."if a person is still married in Thailand and has not yet divorced, can that person come to America and marry a U.S. Citizen?"

The answer to this is NO.   If a person is legally married to someone, they are not free to legally marry another person. Marriage is a legal contract between two people ("spouses") that establishes certain rights and obligations between the parties.  A person who is lawfully married to one person, then gets subsequently married to another person commits a crime called “bigamy”. Polygamy is illegal in the United States and most developed countries. Thailand is included on this list. Here in California, such a crime is charged as a felony.

Each state in the U.S. may have different laws and requirements regarding marriage, so it is recommended that you first contact the appropriate official of the state in which you desire to marry to find out what the requirements are.  For California*, the basic requirements are:

1) Free to Marry: The two parties to the marriage (either opposite sex, or same-sex* because California is recognizes same-sex marriages) must not already be married.

2) Unrelated: The two parties must not be related to each other.

3) Of Consenting Age: The parties must be at least 18 years old or have their parent’s (or legal guardian’s) written consent to marry.

IMMIGRATION

Now that we understand that you can not be married to more than one person at a time, how does that effect your immigration?  Whenever you apply for an immigration benefit here in the United States, you are required to make certain disclosures such as your full name, your address, and your marital history. If you are married and this is not your first marriage, Immigration will ask for dissolution of marriage documents proving that your prior marriages were dissolved. Therefore, you can not have concurrent-multiple marriages (being married to more than one person at a given time). And as a warning, if you state that you are only married to one person, but in fact have gotten married to more than one person, Immigration will eventually find out and charge you will fraud.  I have seen this before with one of my clients and it was not a fun time to be dealing with Immigration. So don't do it!

Please feel free to contact my office so that we can assist you if you have any further questions. As always, if you have any questions you would like to be answered in future articles, please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or check out this and other topics on my website at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM

Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.