Bigamy (Latin to " twice " and gr γάμος gamos "marriage" ) is entering into another marriage before a next to already existing marriage has been dissolved. People who make such a two-fold connection, called a bigamist.

The civil status of bigamy or polygamy is legally referred to as bigamy or polygamy. In Western societies mainly represent values ​​that prescribe monogamy ( monogamy ). The bigamy is therefore in the West a legally impermissible form of marriage.


In Germany, the bigamy or polygamy is prohibited by § 1306 of the Civil Code. The second marriage is nevertheless treated as legally effective as long as it is not canceled by judgment of the family court (§ § 1314, 1313 BGB).

Entering into a bigamischen marriage is punishable as an offense against the civil status pursuant to § 172 of the Criminal Code. In the absence of appropriate criminal provisions ( prohibition of analogy ), however, is entering into a registered partnership in addition to a marriage (or another registered partnership ) with impunity, as well as entering into a marriage with existing registered partnership. According to § 1 para 3 No 1 LPartG such a second partnership, however, is ineffective from the outset.

Is to avoid the existence of several formally valid marriages. The principle of monogamy is anchored in the German legal system, such that even in the context of private international law ( international family law ) violates the existence of multiple marriages to public policy under Article 6 BGB.

In the area of ​​Deputy Criminal Justice (§ 7 paragraph 2 sentence 2 of the Criminal Code ) is the double marriage of a German abroad only in Germany punishable, even if the local criminal law prohibits bigamy.

The problem is that ban if a spouse has been declared dead by mistake and the other remarries. Under civil law, the spouse 2 BGB is thus resolved, if at least one of the spouses of the new marriage is in good faith in accordance with § 1319 para. But criminally intended to be applicable for even the prevailing opinion, § 172 of the Criminal Code.

Criminally responsible perpetrators of § 172 of the Criminal Code can only be spouses (as participation in fact is only the aid of the registrar, etc. into account), acting at least in regard to the validity of the remaining marriage. The offense is completed by the certification of the registrar, by the second marriage is formally valid.

The provision of § 172 of the Criminal Code itself is relatively insignificant ( only 17 convictions in 2003 in the old federal states ), constitutionally it is to justify 6 Basic Law on the protection of marital status according to Art.

Austria and Switzerland

In Austria ( § 192 StGB ) and Switzerland (Art. 215Vorlage. Kind / Maintenance / ch- search) is also a crime of bigamy.

Pictures of Bigamy