Soldier fined £1,500 for bigamy

family life

A British soldier has been fined £1,500 after admitting to bigamy.

On Monday, the South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court heard that the armed forces veteran had been “swept along” with his fiancée’s wedding plans and “did not know what to say or what to do” about the fact that he had not divorced his first wife.

His first marriage took place in 2000 but the couple separated just two years later. Their marriage could not “survive the trauma” of his wife, who has not been named, suffering nine miscarriages. The devastated woman reportedly demanded a divorce several times but he refused. However, following a six-month deployment in Afghanistan the soldier returned home to find his wife had left him and moved out of their home.

He began a new relationship in 2007 and while he told her that he had been married before, his new partner believed that it had legally ended. After another six-month tour of Afghanistan, he came home to find that she had pushed ahead with their wedding plans and they duly married in April 2013.

However his second wife began to have doubts about whether he had actually divorced and eventually confronted him about it. The soldier then confessed he had not, a revelation which left her feeling “bereaved”.

His legal counsel told the Court that the man was guilty of “burying his head in the sand to a level that was incomprehensible”. Meanwhile, the soldier admitted he had let down his second wife. He was ordered to pay a fine as well as £85 in costs and a victim surcharge of £150.

Last year, an Essex man was found guilty of bigamy after his wife found that he had been married to another woman for 11 years. He received a four month prison sentence suspended for four months and was ordered to do 100 hours of community service. During his hearing, the man admitted he should have divorced before he remarried.

Photo by arsheffield via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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2 comments

John Smith - April 12, 2017 at 3:50pm

Marriage has no significance these days so what is the point, affairs are tolerated, domestic abuse is tolerated, perjury in family court is acceptable and there is vitually a no fault divorce except for some odd cases on your blog.. where parents are fined for not agreeing to divorce or are refused a divorce for whatever reason.

Of course some of us wish marriage and promises made prior to marriage were taken as seriously as a business law but as its not why hound such a man who doesnt want to upset either woman.

Brian - April 16, 2017 at 5:53pm

Clearly the woman went to the wrong party for a divorce you don’t ask the spouse for a divorce – you ask a judge in the family court. Only in islamic law in islamic countries can a husband grant a divorce. The other spouse can then make representations to the judge why a divorce should not be granted. This article is written in such a way as to illicit sympathy for the wife and the woman who was subjected to an invalid marriage (can’t call her a wife let aline a second one because that would be an oxymoron to bygamy/polygamy). The title is misleading too. A veteran is not a soldier, a veteran is a former serviceman a soldier is an occupation, you’re either a soldier or a veteran not both at the same time…talk about hyperbole! I’d say parting ways from someone for £1500 is cheap at twice the price. Lawyers must have felt swindled at the opportunity to drag out an acrimonious dissolution by not having one to toy with. Couldn’t have much of a relationship for the polygamy victim to begin with if everything hinged around a civil contract.

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