Bigamy, the crime committed by a person who is married a second time while still legally married to another wife or husband. A person can be legally married a second time only if the original partner has died or if the first marriage ended in divorce or annulment. If a husband or wife is absent and not heard of for a certain number of years—seven in some states, five in others—and is not known to be alive, he or she may be presumed to be dead, and the other partner may then legally remarry. The usual penalty for bigamy is two to five years in prison.
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