Legal Status of Polygamy/Bigamy: US N-Ne

Again, mostly just adding links to Jason Cherry’s much better summaries, just click the state names to go to the relevant summary. And fixing some typos and such. Edited Oct 20, 2018)

Dealing with craziness this week. Posts may be short or erratic. Happy new years all.

The following is not intended as legal advice.

Nebraska: Bigamy is a misdemeanor in Nebraska, and only applies to multiple legal marriages, so unlike some states given the appearance of being married to multiple people isn’t a problem as long as there is no more than 1 legal marriage. There are no laws against fornication or adultery. One source lists a law against cohabitation, though I couldn’t find it on a quick search of the Nebraska legislatures website.

Over all, polyam folk in Nebraska won’t have any problems as long as they don’t seek multiple legal marriages. If there is a cohabitation law, than polyam folk who are not legally married are better off not living together.

Nevada: Bigamy is a felony in Nevada, other wise the laws are pretty much the same as Nebraska’s above. Bigamy only applies to multiple legal marriages, and there are no laws against fornication, adultery or cohabitation.

Another good place to be polyam, just don’t try and get legally married twice and you are good.

New Hampshire: Bigamy is a felony in New Hampshire, but it applies only to the person with multiple marriages, and not to their spouses. Like Nebraska and Nevada it applies only to legal marriages. There is a law against adultery, but no law against fornication or cohabitation.

Overall, if no one is legally married, than a polyam family or network in New Hampshire shouldn’t have any problems. Once there is a legal marriage there is a possibility of charges being brought for adultery.

New Jersey: Bigamy is a misdemeanor in New Jersey, and applies to the appearance of multiple marriages, as well as actually being married more than once. There are laws regarding adultery, but they only apply in situations of divorce, basically putting an adulterer in a worst position in divorce and custody cases. There are no laws against fornication or cohabitation, and common law marriages are not recognized.

Anyone who isn’t legally married, and doesn’t present themselves as married should be alright in New Jersey. The adultery laws applying only to divorce cases means that polyam folk who are married should be alright as well, as long as they are careful to not act like they are married to more than one person.

New Mexico: Bigamy is a felony and applies to both the person with multiple marriages and the second person they marry. The law is only concerned with actual marriages, but not with the appearance of marriage. There are civil laws regarding adultery – specifically it can be used against a person in a divorce case, and the person the adulterer was in a relationship can be sued in civil court for ‘alienation of affection’ – basically ‘you ruined my marriage and now your going to pay me for it’. There are no laws against fornication or cohabitation.

Polyam folk who are not married or who do not seek multiple legal marriages generally will not have problems in New Mexico. If a legal marriage ends, than polyamory may lead to civil law suits and a bad divorce settlement.

New York: New York considers bigamy a felony and adultery a misdemeanor and both can land jail time. Oh – and presenting yourself as married to multiple people is just as bad as being married to multiple people. There is no law against fornication or cohabitation.

Best bet for polyam folk in New York is just don’t get married.

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