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Bigamy case in Cobb County, Georgia

In Georgia, to be able to enter a valid marriage, a person must “have no living spouse of a previous unresolved marriage.” OCGA §19-3-2(3). Further, “[t]he dissolution of a previousmarriage in divorce proceedings must be affirmatively established and will not be presumed.” Id. Any marriage that violates this bigamy provision is void in Georgia. OCGA§19-3-5. A Cobb County woman recently found herself on the wrong side of this law. Woman, 48, accused of bigamy,theft, by Alexis Stevens, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 10, 2011. The woman married her first husband in Gwinnett County on January 16, 2004 and married her second husband onApril 19, 2007 in Cobb County. Id. However, she was not divorced from her first husband until April 7, 2008. Id. Apparently, when she applied for a marriage license with hersecond husband, “she allegedly stated that she had been married time and that she had divorce in 2001.” Id. Interestingly, this woman’s bigamous acts were not discovered until sheallegedly tried to steal a truck.

In addition to her second marriage being void under Georgia law, this woman also faces a criminal charge of bigamy. According to the criminal code, “[a] person commits the offense of bigamy whenhe, being married and knowing that his lawful spouse is living, marries another person or carries on a bigamous cohabitation with another person.” OCGA §16-6-20(a). If this woman isconvicted of the offense of bigamy, she “shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years.” OCGA §16-6-20(c).

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