LAW CORNER WITH JC 8 มิถุนายน 2562

Hello readers! In this week's article, I will be answering an email question that I received regarding multiple marriages at the same time.


The week's question comes from “AT”, who wants to know..."if a person is still married in Thailand and has not yet divorced, can that person come to America and marry a U.S. Citizen?"

The answer to this is NO. If a person is legally married to someone, they are not free to legally marry another person. Marriage is a legal contract between two people ("spouses") that establishes certain rights and obligations between the parties. A person who is lawfully married to one person, then gets subsequently married to another person commits a crime called “bigamy”. Polygamy is illegal in the most states of the United States and most developed countries. Thailand is included on this list. Here in California, such a crime is charged as a felony.

Each state in the U.S. may have different laws and requirements regarding marriage, so it is recommended that you first contact the appropriate official of the state in which you desire to marry to find out what the requirements are. For California*, the basic requirements are:

1) Free to Marry: The two parties to the marriage (either opposite sex, or same-sex* because California is recognizes same-sex marriages) must not already be married.

2) Unrelated: The two parties must not be related to each other.

3) Of Consenting Age: The parties must be at least 18 years old or have their parent’s (or legal guardian’s) written consent to marry.


Now that we understand that you can not be married to more than one person at a time, how does that effect your immigration? Whenever you apply for an immigration benefit here in the United States, you are required to make certain disclosures such as your full name, your address, and your marital history. If you are married and this is not your first marriage, Immigration will ask for dissolution of marriage documents proving that your prior marriages were dissolved. Therefore, you can not have concurrent-multiple marriages (being married to more than one person at a given time). And as a warning, if you state that you are only married to one person, but in fact have gotten married to more than one person, Immigration can find out and will then charge you with fraud. I have seen this before with one of my clients and it was not a fun time to be dealing with Immigration. So don't do it!

If you have questions or comments related to this article, or if you have some other legal issue you would like me to assist you with, please contact my office at (818) 846-5639, or my Thai direct line at (818) 505-4921. Also, if you have any questions that you would like to be answered in future articles, please email me at: JC4LAW@HOTMAIL.COM. And if you have not done so, please be sure to visit my website at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM for general information regarding this and many other topics in Business, Property and Family Law.

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Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.