walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Google at Own Risk: Bigamy Edition




(There was this other bigamy story making the rounds, some guy's wife saw him in a wedding photo and turned out he didn't actually get the divorce he should have before remarrying.


Bizarrely, both the military one and the "facebook" were in Lincoln County, Washington. I frequently forget Lincoln even exists, possibly because they are so right-wing out there they went for Goldwater back in the day and haven't really moved any closer to the center in the intervening decades. About 10K people live in the entire county, and they should definitely stay there, growing outrageous amounts of lovely wheat, and not annoying the rest of us with their nutty politics. Or marital misbehavior.)

Anyway. The military one is flabbergasting. On the one hand, you sort of want to go, hey, if someone tells you you are divorced and you never saw the paperwork, you go find a cheap lawyer to draft a letter requesting the proof. Once you have the proof, you determine if (a) you really are divorced and now you know or (b) you aren't, and someone has been lying to a court and other people too, and you might be able to interest a prosecutor. If this process takes years, you're probably doing it wrong (e.g. you are on the phone when you need to be writing letters, possibly on some lawyer's letterhead). Also, this whole not responding to legal paperwork thing is childish all around.

But ignoring the bad tactics, the most horrifying part of the whole article about the guy who ditched the first four kids and wife for a new wife and two new kids (which he could have done legally, altho it probably would have cost him more, what with property settlement, child support, possible spousal support and so forth) is this:

""You don't see the military prosecuting servicemembers for bigamy very often," said Michael Navarre, a former Navy Reserve prosecutor and adviser to the National Institute of Military Justice. He is not involved in the Siemers case.

The military has discretion on what charges it will seek, Navarre continued, and typically prosecutes bigamy and adultery only when it's connected to conduct that brings discredit to the armed forces.

He said he is aware of other cases in which servicemembers have forged divorce decrees."

The first paragraph makes you go, yeah, like never, but clearly the author double checked that: this is _not_ the first time someone has forged a divorce decree. Yeesh.

ETA: A and B are married. B. leaves, marries C (using a phony name, claiming to be a widow). C. dies. A and B finally get divorced. B wants to collect a share of A.'s retirement benefits reflecting the time since they were married until now, rather than until B married C. What to do? Turns out, it depends on where the marriages occurred, and a variety of other matters as well.


One takeaway: if your spouse up and leaves you to take up with someone else by marrying them, you should probably do something about it, rather than just twiddling your thumbs and staying married to them. Don't just assume that because they left you and remarried, that they won't come back later and try to take your stuff.

A bit more about bigamy and community property:


Obviously not a new question. I've already ordered a copy of Ginger Frost's _Living in Sin_.

ETA: comments have been turned off. Anonymous ones should not have been going through. Dunno what happened.
Tags: genealogy
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