Is Bigamy Illegal in Australia?

marriage contract

Bigamy is a term that is commonly heard but not always fully understood. In simple terms, it refers to the act of marrying another person while still being legally married to someone else. This practice is considered to be illegal in many countries, including Australia.

Bigamy Meaning

The term bigamy comes from the Greek word “bi,” which means two, and “gamos,” which means marriage. Therefore, bigamy is essentially the act of having two marriages simultaneously. This practice is illegal in Australia, as it is considered to be a form of fraud and deception.


The punishment for bigamy in Australia can vary, depending on the case’s specific circumstances. In most cases, the penalty is a fine or a short period of imprisonment. However, if the bigamy involves a significant amount of deceit or fraud, the sentence can be much harsher.


For example, in New South Wales, the punishment for bigamy is up to 5 years in jail. This is considered to be a serious offence, as it involves deceiving someone into entering into a marriage with you while you are already legally married to another person.


It is important to note that bigamy is not just illegal in Australia but in many other countries around the world as well. In some cases, the punishment for bigamy can be severe, including life imprisonment or even death.

What is the difference between Polygamy and Bigamy?

Polygamy and bigamy are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Both of these terms refer to the practice of marrying multiple people at the same time, but there are some critical differences between them.


Polygamy is a general term that refers to the practice of having multiple spouses. This can take several forms, including polygyny, which is having multiple wives, and polyandry, which is having multiple husbands. In some cultures, polygamy is a traditional practice that is considered to be acceptable, while in others, it is considered to be illegal.


Bigamy, on the other hand, is a specific form of polygamy that involves marrying someone while still being legally married to someone else. This is considered to be illegal in most countries, including the United States and Australia, and can result in criminal charges.


The main difference between polygamy and bigamy is that polygamy involves marrying multiple people with the knowledge and consent of all parties involved, while bigamy involves deceiving someone into marrying you while still being legally married to someone else.


In some cases, bigamy can be considered a form of fraud, as it involves deceiving someone into entering into a marriage with you while still being married to someone else. That is, multiple marriages at the same time. This can have serious consequences, including criminal charges and imprisonment.

Can you go to Jail for Bigamy?

Bigamy is a criminal offence in Australia. If you are found guilty of bigamy in Australia, you can be sentenced to a period of imprisonment. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that you are not committing bigamy by obtaining a divorce before getting remarried. As a criminal offence, the Crimes Act 1900 states:


“Whosoever, being married, marries another person during the life of the former spouse (including husband or wife), shall be liable to imprisonment for seven years”.


The Marriage Act 1961 is a federal legislation and applies to all states:


“A person who is married shall not go through a form or ceremony of marriage with any person.


Maximum Penalty: 5 years Imprisonment”


However, you will not be guilty of bigamy if your original spouse at the time of your second marriage has been legally missing for 7 years and presumed dead or if you truly believed that your original spouse was dead.


Accordingly, the offence of bigamy is a serious offence that is illegal in Australia. If you are considering getting remarried while still legally married to someone else, you should be aware of the potential consequences, including the possibility of going to jail. It is essential to follow the laws of Australia and obtain a divorce before entering into a new marriage.


If you have been charged with a bigamy offence, it is crucial to speak to criminal lawyers in Sutherland. Contact us immediately.

Going To Court?

Send An Online Enquiry

Contact Mohammad Khan

    What Our Clients Say About Us

    Russell Lew
    Read More
    Super knowledgeable amazing service extremely supportive thank you so much.
    Omar M
    Read More
    A BIG thank you to Lyons Law Group with helping me achieve the best outcome for my case. From day one they were very professional, straight to the point and very easy to communicate with, keeping me updated and informed with everything I needed to know. Honestly, exceptional service and support. Thank you once again to Mohammad & Team.
    Edward Hinds
    Read More
    Lyons Law Group is amazing. They are very professional, sympathetic, and helpful. I was kept informed during every step. The level of support was second to none. Mohammad went above and beyond and updated me regularly. Hijram too was amazing. Her calls and court representation made me feel at ease. This was a great experience. I cannot recommend Lyons Law Group enough. My gratitude extends to all involved in the handling of my case.
    Layalle Itaoui
    Read More
    Thank you Lyons Law Group on providing me an exceptional service delivered with care, compassion and a high level of professionalism. The outcome was more than what I had expected. A true reflection of your legal expertise and experience. Thank you Mohammad and team.
    Tristan Bartolome
    Read More
    10/10 WOULD RECOMMEND!!! Last year I was caught up in some trouble and in need of desperate help my friend recommended William from Lyons Law Group. Although there was less than 3 weeks to prepare, William was happy to help me out despite there being such limited time to work with. Despite the limited time William had to work with, he made me feel confident during the whole time and also taught me a lot in the process. In the end he got me an outcome that was better than I thought I would have gotten! I will definitely go back to William if I ever need legal help again!
    Mala Singh
    Read More
    Very professional, reasonable pricing and very supportive. The most stressful time of my life Mohammed was honest and driven to get the best possible outcome for me. Thank you Lyons team
    Daniel Blackwell
    Read More
    Helped me get the best possible outcome for my personal scenario. Their patience and professionalism are outstanding, I was given pure human understanding. Thank you
    Alan Lu
    Read More
    Lyons Law was professional and provided exceptional service to get the best result. I would recommend engaging them. Particular mention and thanks to the solicitor William Lam.
    Read More
    Great teamwork, great people. Highly recommended. Thank you Lyons Law Group