Sunday, November 27, 2011

Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 26: Summary of Missouri Laws

Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 26: Summary of Missouri Laws

Adultery:

Missouri has no adultery or fornication law, thus limiting liability for all forms of non-monogamy.

Bigamy:

Missouri does have a purportation clause for bigamy (Missouri State Legislature, 2011f), increasing liability for non-dyadic non-monogamies. Liability extends to both marryer and marryee, and is considered a class A misdemeanor (Missouri State Legislature, 2011f), punishable by up to one year imprisonment (Missouri State Legislature, 2011a) and a fine up to $1,000 (Missouri State Legislature, 2011c). Though there is a category for repeat offences, it does not appear to have any effect as bigamy is a misdemeanor, not a felony (Missouri State Legislature, 2011b).

Both conspiracy and attempt apply for bigamy (Missouri State Legislature, 2011d; Missouri State Legislature, 2011e), extending liability; however conspiracy and attempt for bigamy are considered a class C misdemeanor (Missouri State Legislature, 2011d; Missouri State Legislature, 2011e), punishable by up to 15 days imprisonment (Missouri State Legislature, 2011a) and a fine up to $300 (Missouri State Legislature, 2011c).

Roundup of Laws:

Due to the absence of adultery and fornication laws, dyadic non-monogamists in Missouri encounter minimal liability. Non-dyadic non-monogamists, however, run into problems with the purportation clause in Missouri’s bigamy law. Because bigamy isn’t a felony the liability isn’t as severe as in most other states.

Non-monogamous strategies:

The lack of adultery and fornication laws, and the purportation clause in bigamy, makes it possible to avoid all liability by not actually having a marriage. It is unclear whether or not ceremonial marriages are included in this, however. In the event a legal marriage is unavoidable, non-dyadic non-monogamists would need to take care about how their relationship is publicly portrayed, as the appearance of a bigamous marriage is enough to create liability.

References

Missouri State Legislature. (2011a). Sentence of imprisonment, terms – conditional release. (Missouri Revised Statutes 558.011). Jefferson City, MO: Missouri State Legislature.

Missouri State Legislature. (2011b). Extended terms for recidivism – definitions – persistent misdemeanor offender. (Missouri Revised Statutes 558.016). Jefferson City, MO: Missouri State Legislature.

Missouri State Legislature. (2011c). Fines for misdemeanors and infractions. (Missouri Revised Statutes 560.016). Jefferson City, MO: Missouri State Legislature.

Missouri State Legislature. (2011d). Attempt. (Missouri Revised Statutes 564.001). Jefferson City, MO: Missouri State Legislature.

Missouri State Legislature. (2011e). Conspiracy. (Missouri Revised Statutes 564.016). Jefferson City, MO: Missouri State Legislature.

Missouri State Legislature. (2011f). Bigamy. (Missouri Revised Statutes 568.010). Jefferson City, MO: Missouri State Legislature.

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