Is Bigamy or Polygamy Authorized in Australia?

Is Bigamy or Polygamy Authorized in Australia?

Polygamy in Australia is against the law. Polygamy refers to an individual having a couple

Polygamy in Australia is against the law. Polygamy refers to an individual having a couple of marriage on the identical time. It comes from historic Greece the place the phrase meant “married to many” or “typically married”.

Laws has been enacted that makes it a felony offence to marry a couple of individual. This offence is called bigamy. As such, it’s unlawful to have a second spouse in Australia.

What’s Polygamy?

Polygamy is outlined because the follow or situation of getting a couple of partner at one time. Usually, that is having a couple of spouse.

Are Polygamous Marriages Recognised in Australia?

Abroad polygamous marriages will be recognised in Australia below Part 6 of the Marriage Act which states that “a union within the nature of a wedding which is, or has at any time been, polygamous, being a union entered into in a spot exterior Australia, shall be deemed to be a wedding”.

Different components of the Marriage Act set out that sure abroad marriages are usually not recognised in Australia. A number of the marriages that aren’t recognised in Australia embody marriages that that have been the results of fraud, duress or mistaken identification, have been incestuous or which concerned an individual below the age of 16 years.

In case you are legally married to an individual overseas, you can’t marry one other partner in Australia. It is because below the Marriage Act 1961, an abroad marriage will likely be recognised in Australia offering that the wedding:

• Have to be recognised as legitimate below the regulation of the nation on the time it was entered into

• Would have been recognised as legitimate below Australian regulation if the wedding had taken place in Australia

Which means you can’t legally be married in Australia if you have already got a partner abroad. It additionally implies that when you have been concerned in a polygamous relationship abroad, Australian regulation is not going to recognise the validity of the a number of marriages, as they might not have been thought of legally legitimate had they occurred in Australia.

Debate Over Polygamy in Australia

There was debate over polygamy in Australia because of the Plebiscite (Similar-Intercourse Marriage) Invoice 2016. It has additionally been a difficulty that the household courtroom system has needed to grapple with in recent times.

Why is Polygamy Unlawful in Australia?

Polygamy is against the law in Australia as a result of it’s seen as an antiquated idea that’s incompatible with feminine social, emotional and financial wellbeing. A typical thread amongst cultures and nations that follow polygamy is that it’s practised as polygyny slightly than polyandry. Which means males can have a number of wives however ladies can’t have a couple of husband. That is mentioned to perpetuate a patriarchal type of gender inequality, given marriages are sometimes organized in these cultures.

It has additionally been argued that the fee of a ‘dowry’ between the households of the potential spouses results in a girl being seen as property. This has an undesirable impact of incentivising a household to marry off daughters and denies females the precise to marry who they need, or not get married in any respect.

Much less frequent arguments embody that there’s the propensity for big age gaps between husbands and wives which regularly results in early widowhood. It might additionally result in the entrapment of girls in abusive relationships.

It has been mentioned that by its nature, polygamy causes emotional and monetary isolation as a result of it fosters neglect, jealousy, competitors and battle between a hierarchy of wives. Opponents additionally level to the sexual abuse of minors that happens because of underage polygamous marriages. If these relationships existed in Australia, the grownup can be topic to felony costs requiring illustration from sexual assault attorneys.

An actual difficulty is the welfare of youngsters from polygamous relationships. Opponents of polygamy counsel that kids expertise hardship and psychological hurt from isolation, stigmatisation, having a disordered mixture of grownup figures and a scarcity of connection to a single, devoted household.

These in favour of polygamy being legalised argue that consenting adults ought to be capable of enter marriages with out the interference of the federal government. It has been instructed that polygamy permits honesty in relationships, acts as a deterrent to infidelity and gives companionship for ladies. It has additionally been argued that organized marriages promote or strengthen social, financial and political alliances and that kids profit from safety and affect.

The follow can even present a big assist community for youngsters of such relationships, together with by exposing them to a broad vary of grownup function fashions. Additionally it is instructed that there was a motion away from the standard two-parent paradigm. Additional, the harms attributed to polygamous marriages are usually not be inherent to polygamous relationships and that such harms are already prohibited by regulation.

What’s the Distinction Between Polygamy and Polyamory?

Polyamory refers to an individual having a number of companions, whether or not they’re married or not. That is totally different to polygamy which offers with an individual having a number of spouses.

Whereas polygamy is against the law, it’s authorized to be polyamorous and have a number of de facto relationships. Due to this, an individual can set up de facto relationships with a couple of individual.

If an individual is in a number of de facto polyamorous, they might be entitled to the advantages and funds sometimes accessible to monogamous {couples}.

Due to this fact, if you’re engaged in de facto relationships with a number of folks, you will need to think about potential authorized ramifications. You might effectively as to work with a lawyer to create a monetary settlement figuring out what’s going to occur within the case of a relationship breakdown.

How Frequent is Polygamy in Australia?

Polygamy is rare in Australia. It is because it’s unlawful and seen as an antithesis to western tradition and values. It has been argued that traditionally, polygamy has been used to oppress females and their social, emotional and financial wellbeing.

The place is Polygamy Authorized?

Polygamy is authorized in numerous nations together with:

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei
  • Cameroon
  • Chad
  • Central African Republic
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Gabon
  • The Gambia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • Maldives
  • Mauritania
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Singapore
  • Somalia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Uganda
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen and Zambia
  • Palestine
  • Iraq
  • Syria (besides Kurdish-controlled areas).

Whereas it’s authorized to marry a couple of partner in these nations, nearly all of them enable a couple of spouse slightly than a couple of husband.

The practise of polygamy can also be frequent amongst members of some religions comparable to Mormons in america and sure Muslims.

Polygamy v Bigamy

There’s a delicate however vital distinction between polygamy and bigamy.

Polygamy is the follow of getting a couple of partner at one time. Bigamy is the act of going by way of a wedding ceremony.

Is Bigamy a Crime in Australia?

Bigamy is a criminal offense in Australia pursuant to Part 94 of the Marriage Act 1961 which units out two offences:

“(1) An individual who’s married shall not undergo a type or ceremony of marriage with any individual.”


“(4) An individual shall not undergo a type or ceremony of marriage with an individual who’s married, realizing, or having affordable grounds to consider, that the latter individual is married.”

Bigamy Crimes Act 1900 NSW

Bigamy can also be a criminal offense in New South Wales pursuant to Part 92 of the Crimes Act 1900. You may be responsible of this offence when you marry an individual while already married to a different individual.

The utmost penalty for bigamy in NSW is seven years’ imprisonment.

Part 93 of the Crimes Act additionally makes it an offence in NSW to marry an individual realizing that individual is already married. The utmost penalty for this offence is 5 years jail.

Defences to Bigamy

There are a variety of defences to bigamy which can be accessible. These are set out below the bigamy legal guidelines of Australia.

If an individual believed their partner was lifeless, then this a defence to the crime of bigamy. Beneath the Marriage Act, if an individual’s partner has been absent for a interval of seven years constantly, then this can be a ample interval to determine a presumption of dying.

The Marriage Act additionally confirms that bigamy just isn’t dedicated if an individual “goes by way of a type or ceremony of marriage with that individual’s personal partner”, comparable to when a pair renews their wedding ceremony vows or celebrates a second wedding ceremony. Skilled felony attorneys can advise you on any defences to bigamy that could be accessible to you. You may contact Astor Authorized on (02) 7804 2823 or e mail us at [email protected]

When prosecuting a bigamy offence, the partner of the Accused “is a reliable and compellable witness for both the prosecution or the defence” below part 94(6), however a wedding “shall not be taken to have been proved if the one proof of the actual fact is the proof of the opposite social gathering to the alleged marriage” below part 94(7). A courtroom can settle for both an authentic or licensed copy of a certificates as proof.

Punishment for Bigamy in Australia

Beneath Part 94 of the Marriage Act, the punishment for bigamy in Australia is as much as 5 years imprisonment.

That is the utmost penalty which is reserved for probably the most severe examples of this offending.

Bigamy is an indictable offence, nevertheless it may be handled summarily.

Are Polygamous Marriages Recognised in Australia?

Abroad marriages are recognised in Australia however the laws restricts recognition of marriages performed in nations the place polygamy is permitted.

Part 6 of the Household Legislation Act states:

“For the aim of proceedings below this Act, a union within the nature of a wedding which is, or has at any time been, polygamous, being a union entered into in a spot exterior Australia, shall be deemed to be a wedding.”

Nonetheless, an abroad marriage is not going to be recognised if:

  • a celebration was aged below 16;
  • the union was non-consensual on account of fraud, duress or mistaken identification;
  • the union was incestuous.

Stopping Bigamy

The Marriage Act accommodates a number of provisions which function to forestall bigamy together with:

  • part 23B(1)(a) makes any second or subsequent concurrent marriage legally void;
  • part 42 for a wedding to be solemnised, it should happen earlier than an authorised marriage celebrant, to whom official paperwork should be offered, together with a written discover and declaration. The declaration should state the individual’s present “conjugal standing” and declare their “perception there is no such thing as a authorized obstacle to the wedding”, which incorporates marriage to a different individual;
  • part 104 makes it an offence for an individual to offer a discover to an authorised celebrant “if, to the data of the individual, the discover accommodates a false assertion or an error or is flawed”;
  • part 100 makes it an offence for a celebrant to solemnise a wedding in the event that they consider there’s a authorized obstacle to the wedding or that it will be void.

Bigamy Circumstances in Australia

There have solely been a number of bigamy instances in Australia. The Household Courtroom of Australia delivered a choice within the case of Amarnath & Kandar [2015] FamCA 1138.

The applicant spouse commenced proceedings towards her then husband. In course of the proceedings it was revealed that the spouse had married one other man prior to now and had not divorced him.

When she married her new husband, she accomplished a wedding certificates the place she acknowledged that she was “not beforehand married”.

Upon receiving this proof, the Choose was compelled to decide as as to whether the spouse would should be referred to the Lawyer Common for prosecution. Finally, the Choose determined that it was their responsibility to refer the spouse for prosecution because the spouse’s actions have been in clear breach of the Marriage Act.

The Household Courtroom in 2010 delivered the choice of Hui v Ling [2010] FamCa 743. Ms Hiu and Mr Ling have been in a relationship in Australia. From December 2009 to January 2010, Mr Ling returned to China the place he married his former. The wedding ceremony passed off in late December 2009 in Hong Kong. Mr Ling’s marriage in Hong Kong was recognised as being legitimate in Australia.

Upon his return to Australia, Mr Ling married Ms Hiu. It was solely after the marriage that Ms Hiu grew to become conscious that Mr Ling was already married.

On the listening to of Ms Hiu’s utility for a decree of nullity of marriage, Mr Ling conceded that he had married Ms Hiu while being married to a different individual. Mr Ling gave proof voluntarily and the courtroom issued a certificates pursuant to Part 128 of the Proof Act. The impact was that Mr Ling’s proof couldn’t be used towards him in felony proceedings.

Mr Ling submitted that he skilled familial and cultural pressures to enter into an organized marriage and that he yielded to these pressured whereas in China. He then returned to Australia and married by his personal selection.

Each events made submissions towards the matter being referred to authorities for prosecution for bigamy. The courtroom opined that Ms Hui’s proof can be “ample to allow a prosecutor to make ample enquiries…as could allow a prosecution to be undertaken.”

Decree of Nullity

If an individual is already married on the time of a wedding, the wedding is void below Part 23B of the Marriage Act 1961. If this happens, an individual can apply to the Federal Circuit and Household Courtroom of Australia for a decree of nullity of marriage.

If a decree of nullity is made, a decide should then determine whether or not the paperwork from the courtroom proceedings needs to be referred to the related prosecuting authorities. This may typically be the Australian Federal Police or state police. They are going to then determine whether or not a prosecution for bigamy ought to happen.

Is Adultery a Crime?

Adultery just isn’t a criminal offense in Australia. The truth is, it’s authorized to have a number of de facto relationships on the one time. Part 4AA(5)(b) of the Household Legislation Act 1975 units out that “a de facto relationship can exist even when one of many individuals is legally married to another person or in one other de facto relationship”.