•  
  •  
 

Abstract

While polygamy is illegal in the United States, forms of it are still practiced either overtly, pursuant to religious traditions, or covertly, by the maintenance of two or more family units. As a result, any claims, disputes, or abuses that arise in the context of de facto polygamous unions remain irremediable. My focus, in this Article, is not to advocate that polygamy should be legally recognized. Nor is it my purpose to debate the viability or morality of polygamy. Instead, I am concerned with affording legal remedies for vulnerable individuals living and operating in de facto polygamous unions. In light of the thousands of individuals living in some form of multi-party unions, I propose that it is imperative to construct adequate legal options and remedies for the parties involved in these unions. In this Article, I evaluate how a women-centric interpretation of the Qur'anic treatment of Islamic polygamy might help us assess how to best protect American women involved in de facto polygamous unions. In addition, I advocate that a redefinition of the concept of the surviving spouse in American estate distribution will help to legally protect de facto spouses in the inheritance context. Finally, I further propose that the common law marriage doctrine be used to help prove the existence of de facto polygamous unions.

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.