In most countries, a person who marries one person while still legally married to another commits bigamy, a crime, although penalties vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In addition, the second and subsequent marriages are considered null and void. In 2001, Juab County District Attorney David O. Leavitt in Utah, USA, successfully prosecuted Thomas Green, who was convicted of criminal non-support and quadruple bigamy for contracting five serial monogamous marriages while living with legally divorced former wives. His cohabitation was considered proof of a common-law relationship with the wives from whom he had divorced while he was still living with them. This premise was later upheld by the Utah Supreme Court in State v. Green, as applicable only in the State of Utah. Green was also convicted of child rape and criminal lack of support.  It shows that polygamy is permitted in countries mainly in Africa and Asia, including Algeria, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. The data on the prevalence of polygamous households was part of a Pew Research Center report on household composition by religion around the world. Not all people who practice polygamy live in polygamous households.
Sometimes two or more wives of the same man each have their own home. Details of the categories of household types can be found in the methodology. Details of polygamy laws around the world can be found from the OECD Development Centre and the UN Human Rights Office. De facto polygamy is common in countries where only monogamous marriage is legally legitimate. There is no legal recognition for additional spouses after the first one in places like these, where polygamy is prohibited but tolerated. Polygamy is the practice of having more than one spouse. In particular, polygamy is the practice of a man taking more than one wife, while polyandry is the practice of a woman taking more than one husband. Polygamy is a common model of marriage in some parts of the world. In North America, polygamy is not a culturally normative or legally recognized institution since the colonization of the continent by Europeans.
5. Cameroon: For Cameron`s men, polygamy symbolizes wealth and status. It is mainly used in rural areas. Unlike other countries, men in Cameroon have no limit on the number of spouses they can have. On the other hand, polygamy is declining due to economic and social factors. Nearly a dozen countries that do not allow polygamous civil marriages recognize polygamous marriages at common law. All states in northern Nigeria governed by Islamic Sharia law recognize polygamous marriages. The autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland in northern Somalia recognize polygamy, as does the country`s transitional government itself, as the country is subject to Sharia law. Newly independent South Sudan also recognizes polygamy. 4. United Arab Emirates (UAE): According to UAE legislation, polygamy is legal in the UAE, but only for men of the Islamic faith. A man can only have four wives if he can treat them all equally and take care of them.
In countries that prohibit polygamy, the crime is commonly referred to as bigamy, although the penalty varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some countries where polygamy is illegal, the ban is not enforced. The Mormon practice of plural marriage was officially introduced on July 12, 1843, by Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter-day Saint movement. Since polygamy was illegal in the state of Illinois, it was practiced in secret during Smith`s lifetime. During the Nauvoo era, from 1839 to 1844, several Mormon leaders (including Smith, Brigham Young, and Heber C. Kimball) adopted several wives, but all Mormon leaders who publicly taught polygamous doctrine were disciplined. For example, Hyram Brown was excommunicated on February 1, 1844.  In May 1844, Smith declared, “What a thing it is for a man to be accused of adultery and to have seven wives, if I can find only one.”  In the United States, 20% of people believe polygamy is morally acceptable, according to a 2020 Gallup poll.  Utah reduced polygamy from a third-degree felony to a misdemeanor on May 13, 2020.   Debates on the legalisation of polygamous marriages continue in Central Asian countries.
[ref. needed] Under UAE law, polygamy is legal in the UAE, but limited to men of the Islamic faith. A man can take four wives only if he can ensure equal treatment and maintenance for all women. In Afghanistan, the Quran allows a man to take a maximum of four wives. Men can treat all their women equally. As a result, polygamy is systematically recognized and practised in Afghanistan. But the rules are rarely followed. In addition, Afghans are allowed to take an indefinite number of women as wives or concubines. Polygamy is the general and neutral term for any marriage between three or more people. Polygyny is a specific term used to describe a marriage involving a husband and at least two wives.
It is by far the most common (and commonly legal) form of polygamy. Polyandry is a specific term used to describe marriages between a woman and at least two husbands. 2. Algeria: In Algeria, polygamy is allowed and a man can have up to four wives. However, recent amendments to the Algerian Family Code have made such marriages more difficult. As a result, polygamy was relatively rare. Polygamy is currently practised by only 3% of the population. Hindu law allows polygamy within certain parameters, although the application varies from one Hindu country to another. For example, traditional Hindu law allowed polygamy if the first wife could not give birth to a son. In addition, Balinese Hinduism allows sanctioned and unrestricted polygamy, but marriage is regulated by adat or traditional customs.
Some sects that practice or at least sanction polygamy include the fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), The Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Apostolic United Brethren. Polygamy among these groups exists today in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Canada and some neighboring states, as well as among up to 15,000 isolated individuals without an organized church affiliation.  Polygamous Latter-day Saint churches are often referred to as “fundamentalist Mormons”; However, the main Latter-day Saint church has rejected polygamy since the early 20th century.