Question asked on Feb 25th, 2018
Q: I am separated (live apart) but not yet legally divorced, there is no legal separation agreement yet. The marriage took place in Las Vegas (Clark County, Nevada) but now we live abroad in Mexico. The marriage was never registered in Mexico. We are not US citizens and we have one 5-year old child. The separation was due to infidelity on her part, ie: she has a boyfriend (he is a US citizen). Now I have learned that they went to Las Vegas and got married, looks like there are two valid marriage certificates in the State of Nevada, one dated 2010 (with me) and another one dated 2017 (with her boyfriend). I assume her new partner is unaware that she has a previous valid marriage with me, again: not legally divorced. Questions: 1.- Is that considered bigamy? How should I document it for legal purposes? 2.- What is the impact in terms of the custody of our daughter? 3.- I worry that she plans to apply for a green card with the second marriage, is that a crime?
A: Yes, entering into a second marriage with a marriage still existing with a still-living spouse is bigamy. Registration elsewhere and citizenship are irrelevant. The documentation is the marriage certificates on file, which you can order if you wish. You do not indicate what is being litigated, or where, relating to the daughter, but the short version is that (in Nevada anyway) the questions of bigamy and child custody are entirely unrelated — the rules and tests for custody have nothing to do with the marital status of the parents. I cannot speak to the green card issue — that should probably be sent to a criminal law or immigration attorney for an answer.