Is this situation considered bigamy in the state of MN?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is this situation considered bigamy in the state of MN?

My mother is legally married to my
father, who has a record of assault
charges against her all dropped. My
father was never faithful to my mother
and has recently
CULTURALLY/traditionally married a
second wife. Because cultural marriage
only, it is not a marriage with legal
license. Would this still be considered

My father also is not willing to just
let her part ways because she provides
100 of his support. In circumstances,
everthing they have would have to be
split 50/50. Is there anything we could
do so my mother has leverage?

Thank you in advance.

Asked on May 6, 2016 under Family Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A "cultural" marriage is not bigamy under the law, because it has no legal effect. It means nothing more legally than saying she is his girlfriend.
Your father has no say over whether your mother can "part ways" or not: she can get a divorce regardless of what he wants. Yes, he will in your state get 50% of her assets, and he will also likely be entitled to spousal suppport from her--but right now, she is supporting him anyway, and what she has acquired during marriage is his as well as hers (he has equal access and rights to marital property as her), so there really is no economic downside to divorce and indeed, there is upside, since it will reduce her from supporting him 100% to simply paying whatever support the court orders and will let her end up with half their assets free of him.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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