Are state sanctioned polygamous unions even practical? Family law would get a lot more complex if they were legal. Since it would probally be unconstitutional to allow onlymen to have multiple wives women would be allowed to have mulitple husbands. How would spousal benifits work in such a union. If John is married to Susan and Jane and he gets into a car accident are they both his next of kin? Does the senior spouse get priority? What if he married both of them at the same time? Are Mary and Susan also married to eachother? If Jane decided to marry Peter would Peter then be married to John and Susan? What about Peter’s wife Helen? Is she now married to John, Jane, and Susan? This could go on and on. I imagine family lawyers would make out like bandits writing up all the paperwork for such unions and handling disputes.
In Ontario, the law is in place to deal with the breakdown of polygamous marriages. We don’t solemnize polygamous marriages, so it really isn’t an issue due to lack of polygamous marriages.
“In the definition of “spouse”, a reference to marriage includes a marriage that is actually or potentially polygamous, if it was celebrated in a jurisdiction whose system of law recognizes it as valid. “
Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 1 (2)
Succession Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26, s. 1 (2)
When it comes to dealing with the legal end of marital breakdown, I don’t see much of a difference between serial monogamy, which is very common now, and polygamy, which is extremely rare.
There are plenty of countries that allow polygamy. I’m sure we’d just look towards them and adapt what they do to our own needs.
Personally, I think that polygamy should be legal; that way, less pressure on men to have anything to do with that miserable gender (plural marriages involving multiple men aren’t common). Having said that, however, I have to conceed the fact that legal issues would be troublesome. Not really an issue during marriage, but rather during divorce. What if A, B, and C are married. If A wants to divorce B, but B wants to stay married to C, then what?
What country allows women to have more than one husband as well as men to have more than one wife and treats all spouses equally?
The problem with the way other countries do it is that the countries that do it tend to have legal systems that are religiously conservative, corrupt, and unfair to women. Sure I hate women, but is that a system that we really want to emulate?
Polygamy works just as well as monogamy. The local laws and customs are set up for it. I suppose other countries could do the same.
So in answer to the OP, of course it is practical.
In Saudi Arabia (and other Muslim countries) what is the status of co-wives? Are they considered sisters?
I should have been more specific in my OP; is legal polygamy practical in the United States (or an other Western country)? In the US both spouses are theoretically equal under the law. And since it probally wouldn’t be constitutional to just allow polygyny polyandry would have to be legal as well. This would mean every spouse in the marriage could marry more people, not just the husband.
Making the awarding of a polygamous marriage conditional on having an antenuptial contract might cut down on the problems there.
One other possible solution, I guess, is to just abandon the prohibition of bigamy. Then A can marry B, and A can marry C, and C and B can marry too. Then if A wants to divorce B, A &C and B&C are still married.
We have this now: If your father is dead, and your mother gets in a car accident, are you and your (hypothetical) brother both her next of kin?
In a situation involving two siblings, or two parents, where there is disagreement, the older one does get priority (because for parents and a child, or siblings and a parent, the age is exactly equivalent to the length of the relationship). In the case of poly spouses, the longest relationship would take precedence, with the age of the spouse being the tiebreaker.
I would assume Mary and Susan are, in fact, married to each other, in the way that a parent can adopt two children and make the children siblings. Or, at the least, they share some relationship, like sisters-in-law.
One of them marrying Peter would bring him into the extended family, but it wouldn’t necessarily have to make him related to anyone other than the spouse he married-- I’d think a reasonable compromise between “only the person you marry directly” and “everyone in the family” would be to make each person marriage-kin to their spouse AND their spouse’s immediate family only-- in the example above, when Peter married Jane, Peter would be kin to Jane and Jane’s spouses, but Helen (Peter’s wife) wouldn’t be kin to John, because he’s two steps away (Helen-- Peter-- Jane-- John) or vice versa. It’s the same argument as aunts and uncles-- my first cousin has aunts and uncles that aren’t mine, because they’re her mom’s siblings and no kin to me.
There’s nothing totally weird and bizarre in polygamy that we haven’t seen in other family relationships, all it would take is some slightly reworked labels.
It would depend on the laws of the juristiction. (For example, that is not how it works in Ontario.)