In some African countries, polygamy is illegal under civil law, but still permitted under common law, where actions traditionally accepted by a particular culture are considered legal. This arguably confusing loophole leads to two types of marriages: “civil” marriages and “habitual” or “religious” marriages, and allows countries like Liberia, Malawi, and Sierra Leone to allow and even support polygamous marriages without formally recognizing them. Since the facts in support of a declaration of nullity are normally sufficient to treat the parties as if they had never married in accordance with the law, issues arising from a spouse`s legal obligations in divorce matters cannot be applicable to nullity proceedings in certain situations. Indeed, the establishment of a legally valid marital relationship is necessary to trigger certain marital obligations, such as: the obligation to pay child and spousal support. Polygamy is illegal and criminalized in all countries in North and South America, including all 50 U.S. states. However, in February 2020, the Utah House of Representatives and Senate reduced the sentence for consensual polygamy, which was previously classified as a felony, to about one misdemeanor. Scottish-Irish settlers and some Welsh emigrants continued the long-standing traditions of many partners, from Europe to America.  [page needed] Utopian and communal groups founded in the mid-19th century had different marriage systems, including group marriage and polygamy.  There is also evidence of multiple spouses in the southern United States, particularly after the Civil War.  [Page needed] Polygamy is legal in Algeria, where a man can take up to four wives. But recent amendments to Algeria`s Family Code have made it difficult to conclude such marriages. Therefore, the occurrence of polygamy was rare.
Currently, however, only 3% of the population practices polygamy. Polygamy is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, where 11% of the population lives in agreements involving more than one spouse. Polygamy is prevalent in a group of West and Central African countries, including Burkina Faso (36%), Mali (34%) and Nigeria (28%). In these countries, polygamy is legal, at least to some extent. Muslims in Africa are more likely than Christians to live in this type of arrangement (25% vs. 3%), but in some countries the practice is also prevalent among adherents of popular religions and people who do not identify with a religion. For example, in Burkina Faso, 45 per cent of people with popular religions, 40 per cent of Muslims and 24 per cent of Christians live in polygamous households. Chad is the only country in this analysis where Christians (21%) are more likely than Muslims (10%) to live in this type of arrangement.
On 5 May 2011, long-term cohabitation between unmarried people, known as união estável (“stable union”), was extended to same-sex couples, recognized as a family unit and recognized as the set of 112 rights of married couples – the only legal difference with marriage is that it does not change individual marital status from single to married. [ref. A person`s fundamental right to marry is an important constitutional right, but it is not immune from state regulation. If you are looking for legal advice regarding your legal rights and obligations regarding family relations and matrimonial law, Moshtael Family Law can help. The legal status of polygamy varies widely around the world. Polygamy is legal in 58 of the approximately 200 sovereign states, the vast majority of which are Muslim-majority countries. Polyandry is illegal in virtually all countries and strictly forbidden in Islam. [ref. needed] Several non-Muslim countries (particularly in sub-Saharan Africa) allow polygamy among Muslims in their communities. Some countries that allow polygamy have restrictions, such as requiring the first wife to give consent.
Marriage, divorce proceedings and other family law matters are governed by state law. All U.S. jurisdictions prohibit polygamy by invalidating marriages with more than two spouses. State laws against bigamy — marrying someone while they are still legally married to another person — are usually grounds for annulment. Polygamy in any form is generally prohibited in the United States, which justifies more or less serious criminal and civil consequences. The basis for the distinction between religious belief and practice dates back to an 1879 decision in Reynolds v. The U.S. government sought to outlaw the then-common Mormon practice of polygamy (which was later rejected by the main church) in the Utah Territory. The court wrote: “We think it can be said with certainty that in no state of the Union has there been a time when polygamy was not a crime against society, recognized by the civil courts and punished with varying degrees of severity. In the face of all this evidence, it is impossible to believe that the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom was intended to prohibit laws relating to this most important feature of social life. Can a man excuse his contrary practices because of his religious beliefs? To allow this would be to place the professed teachings of religious belief above the law of the land, and even to allow every citizen to become a law to himself.
The data on the prevalence of polygamous households was part of a Pew Research Center report on household composition by religion around the world. Not all people who practice polygamy live in polygamous households. Sometimes two or more wives of the same man each have their own home. Details of the categories of household types can be found in the methodology. Details of polygamy laws around the world can be found from the OECD Development Centre and the UN Human Rights Office. Most countries that accept any form of polygamy limit legal recognition to the practice of polygamy, but prohibit polyandry. The cultural practice of polyandry can be observed in the cultures of Tibet, Nepal and northern India and is associated with systems of inheritance and land ownership. Polygamy is rare in most parts of the world. In the United States, 1882 criminalized having conjugal relations with more than one person under one roof. Today, people in the United States are rarely prosecuted for living with multiple romantic partners, but every state has laws against marriage when you are already married to someone else. In 2008, from 4. Texas state authorities temporarily detained 436 women and children after Rozita Swinton, a 33-year-old woman who lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado, called Texas Social Services and a local animal shelter pretending to be a 16-year-old girl.
In late March, she phoned the authorities, claiming she had been beaten and forced to become the “spiritual” wife of an adult man. In response to their calls, authorities raided the Eldorado ranch, about 40 miles south of San Angelo. YFZ Ranch belongs to The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), a Mormon offshoot that practices polygamy. Two men were arrested for obstructing the raid, but were later released. Several men were convicted of sexual assault, rape and bigamy of underage girls.    Polygamy is practiced in Cameron as a symbol of the wealth and status of men. It is practiced mainly in rural areas. Unlike other countries, men in Cameroon do not limit the number of women a man can take. However, polygamy is slowly decreasing for economic and social reasons.
Many U.S. courts (e.g., Turner v.S., 212 Miss. 590, 55 So.2d 228) treat bigamy as a felony with strict liability: In some jurisdictions, a person can be convicted of a crime even if they reasonably believed they had only one legal spouse. For example, if a person mistakenly believes that their ex-spouse is dead or that their divorce is final, they can still be convicted of bigamy if they marry a new person.  After Joseph Smith`s death, polygamy continued in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), then led by Brigham Young. In the area that became Utah and some surrounding areas, plural marriage was openly practiced by followers of the LDS Church. In 1852 Young felt safe enough at LDS Church in Utah to publicly announce his practice of polygamy. However, opposition from the U.S. government threatened the legal status of the LDS Church.
Wilford Woodruff announced on September 25, 1890 that the LDS Church had officially abandoned the practice. Woodruff`s declaration was officially accepted at a general conference of the Church on October 6, 1890. The LDS Church`s position on the practice of polygamy was reaffirmed in 1904 by another official statement entitled “Second Manifesto”, reaffirming polygamy.  Religion often plays a role in how polygamy is governed and practiced in a single country. In Nigeria, for example, polygamous marriage is not allowed at the federal level, but the ban only applies to civil marriages. Twelve Muslim-majority northern states recognize these unions as Islamic or customary marriages. In India, Muslim men are allowed to marry multiple women, men of other groups are not. However, in countries where polygamy is common, it is often practiced by people of all faiths. This is the case in Gambia, Niger, Mali, Chad, and Burkina Faso, where at least one in ten people from each religious group measured live in households where husbands live with more than one spouse.
Polygamy is illegal in Mexico, despite a few cases there. In the Federal Penal Code, there is a section entitled “Against civil status and bigamy” The legal status of polygamy varies from country to country, with each country prohibiting, accepting or promoting polygamy.