A Jacksonville man allegedly wed a second woman while still married to his first wife, in order to more easily buy a home in New York, according to authorities' reports released on June 4. The 34-year-old man failed to divorce his first wife, and so he was charged with bigamy by the Onslow County Sheriff's Office. He had been married to the first woman for more than a decade.
In North Carolina, bigamy is a felony that can net four to six months' probation for an individual without prior convictions. Although the man has been released from custody on a $5,000 bond, he is due back in court on June 28 to enter a plea.
The man's first wife contacted authorities after discovering that he had remarried. They had been wed in 2002. The man had remarried in late April, according to court documents.
Not only did the man fail to divorce his first wife, but he also married another woman in the same county in which he initially wed. Even though some divorce documents had been filed, a finalized divorce decree was not on file with authorities in the county. The man insisted that, to his knowledge, the divorce had been finalized by his attorney. He also admitted that the second marriage was pushed through so he could purchase a home in the state of New York.
The man had planned to move within just hours of being taken into custody in Florida.
County officials say it is the responsibility of the person getting married to ensure that all divorces have been finalized before scheduling a wedding and obtaining a marriage license. Small jurisdictions do not have the resources available to police every application to help avoid bigamy charges. The Onslow County Register of Deeds asks, as its second question on the marriage license request form, whether the applicant is a legally unmarried person.
Source: JDNews, "Man accused of being married to two women at once," Lindell Kay, June 4, 2012