Monday, October 17, 2011

Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 10: Summary of Georgia Laws

Author's Note:

Georgia, as promised (-:

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Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 10: Summary of Georgia Laws

Adultery:

Georgia's adultery law is specific to only the married individual committing adultery, and not to any unmarried individual involved (Georgia State Legislature, 2011f). Additionally, though Georgia has incohate laws, only attempt and conspiracy are applicable, and not solicitation (Georgia State Legislature, 2011b; Georgia State Legislature, 2011d; Georgia State Legislature, 2011e). Though the liability under just attempt and conspiracy is not much less with the removal of solicitation, some specific situations, such as encouraging a married partner to be sexual with another partner, would be exempt from incohate offense.

Adultery is considered a misdemeanor in Georgia (Georgia State Legislature, 2011f), and is punishable by up to $1,000 or up to 12 months of imprisonment (Georgia State Legislature, 2011i). Incohate adultery is punishable by the same as adultery (Georgia State Legislature, 2011c; Georgia State Legislature, 2011e). There are no escalating punishments in Georgia for adultery.

Bigamy:

Georgia law is inconsistent in its treatment of bigamy, in that for a married spouse bigamy liability extends to cohabitation (Georgia State Legislature, 2011g), however for the individual that the bigamous spouse is cohabiting with there is no liability for cohabitation (Georgia State Legislature, 2011h). Georgia law only extends liability to the other individual if they actually enter a bigamous marriage. Though this spares the unmarried party, there still exists liability within a non-monogamous family, notably for polyamorous and polyfidelitous families.

The punishment for both bigamy and marrying a bigamist is imprisonment for one to ten years (Georgia State Legislature, 2011g). Though Georgia law doesn’t classify Bigamy as a felony, thus voiding it from escalating punishments for repeat offences, there is a roundabout incohate liability through Georgia's “party to a crime” law. Being considered party to bigamy would extend liability to anyone who “aides, abets...advises, encourages, hires, counsels, or procures another” in an actual bigamous marriage, or, more importantly, a cohabitation arrangement that would fall within Georgia's bigamy law (Georgia State Legislature, 2011a). Liability under being a party to bigamy is identical to liability under bigamy, one to ten years imprisonment (Georgia State Legislature, 2011a).

Round-Up of Laws:

Due to the presence of adultery laws, and the co-habitation clause in Georgia's bigamy laws, Georgia is very unfriendly to non-monogamous families. The expected pattern of liability emerges, with swingers & open relationships possessing liability under adultery laws alone, and polyamorists & polyfidelitists having adultery liability because of the restrictions of the bigamy laws. Unfortunately the co-habitation clause in bigamy extends liability to polyfidelitists, polyamorists and to a select group of open relationships, as if anyone who is involved with a partner within a legal marriage is cohabiting with the family, then there is immediate liability under Georgia's bigamy laws.

Fortunately Georgia's laws come just short of extending maximum levels of liability, in not extending adultery liability to unmarried participants, and not extending the cohabitation clause for bigamy to the non-married cohabiter. This provides some, limited, breathing room among the mess of liability that non-monogamists encounter among Georgia's laws.

Non-Monogamous Strategies:

Unfortunately, there is no round-about way to avoid adultery liability, beyond not being married. Because being married is a key component to adultery liability, the removal of this aspect removes the liability. The lack of this liability is advantageous specifically to swingers and open relationships who are specifically seeing partner(s) who have no legal commitments. For polyamorists and polyfidelitists there is no way to avoid liability under adultery, and the harshness of the co-habitation clause within Georgia's bigamy law makes family co-habitation dangerous, at best. Fortunately this liability only extends to the identified bigamist, so the liability within a V, due to only one person having a multi-partner sexual relationship, will be more limited than in a triad, where everyone has a multi-partner sexual relationship and is liable under bigamy.

References

Georgia State Legislature. (2011a). When a person is party to a crime. (Georgia Code 16.2.20). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

Georgia State Legislature. (2011b). Criminal attempt. (Georgia Code 16.4.1). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

Georgia State Legislature. (2011c). Penalties for criminal attempt. (Georgia Code 16.4.6). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

Georgia State Legislature. (2011d). Criminal solicitation. (Georgia Code 16.4.7). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

Georgia State Legislature. (2011e). Conspiracy to commit a crime. (Georgia Code 16.4.8). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

Georgia State Legislature. (2011f). Adultery. (Georgia Code 16.6.19). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

Georgia State Legislature. (2011g). Bigamy. (Georgia Code 16.6.20). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

Georgia State Legislature. (2011h). Marrying a bigamist. (Georgia Code 16.6.21). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

Georgia State Legislature. (2011i). Punishment for misdemeanors generally. (Georgia Code 17.10.3). Atlanta, GA: Georgia State Legislature.

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