Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

Criminal charges in marriage and child custody dispute

Despite the fact that most people think of marriage as a very intimate arrangement between two people, it is essentially a legally binding contract that is enforceable under the law. Therefore, bigamy is illegal in the state of Virginia. Beyond that, the state institutes a number of legal penalties to enforce child custody arrangements and other family law agreements, which can result in misdemeanor and felony charges in some cases.

A woman was recently charged with three misdemeanor offenses of child custody violations, in addition to one felony charge of perjury and one felony charge of bigamy. As a result, she was sentenced to pay legal fines associated with the child custody charges and two years of supervised probation. For her other offenses, the woman was given suspended probation sentences.

The charges filed against the woman were in response to complaints filed by her husband, whom she married in Charlottesville in 2008. The couple had three children together, and the husband reported to police that the woman had violated the terms of their child custody and visitation order by moving to Florida with their children without his permission.

The woman was living with the children in Florida, along with her female partner. The two had been married in the fall of last year, even though the woman never officially divorced her husband. As a result, the second marriage was voided. The woman did plead guilty to all the charges filed against her, and was released from court supervision and location monitoring.

Source: The News Virginian, “Woman pleads guilty in bigamy case,” Lauren Berg, June 9, 2015

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