Published: Monday, Dec. 13th, 2021
It might surprise you to learn this question gets Googled a lot. (And we mean a lot!) Thousands of people in the United States alone type some variation of this question into a search engine every month. In fact, maybe that’s how you ended up here, reading this article!
Usually, curious queriers search for information by state… Such as How many times can you get married in Louisiana? or in Texas, or in Illinois, or in Tennessee?
But no matter which state you search for, the answer will be the same.
That’s because all US states have laws in place against bigamy and polygamy: you can’t enter into a marriage with more than one person at a time, or be legally married to multiple people at the same time. (This isn’t the same thing as polyamory.) In fact, even wedding officiants can get in legal trouble for performing a bigamist wedding ceremony!
The presence of state laws mean that bigamy and polygamy crimes are’t usually prosecuted at a federal level, but immigrants in polygamist marriages will have difficulty becoming naturalized citizens and may even face deportation.
Each state makes its own marriage laws. This means that although the right to marriage is protected by the Constitution and federal law for all people, including interracial couples and same-sex couples, each state creates its own rules for how marriages take place.
All states require that one marriage end -- either by legal dissolution, divorce, or the death of a spouse -- before a new one begins.
All states require that one marriage end before a new one begins. This also means that if you are already married in one state, your marriage is valid in every state, and you won’t be able to start a new marriage in another state until you’ve legally ended the first.
A few states even require a waiting period between the end of one marriage and the start of the next. For example, in Texas, a person can not get remarried to a new spouse if they’ve been divorced within 30 days (although this period can be waived if they’re remarrying the same person they just divorced). And in Nebraska, a divorce takes 6 months to become finalized, meaning a person must wait at least 6 months to remarry.
No state has a limit on how many times you can get married or remarried in your lifetime, as long as you follow that state’s marriage laws for entering into or ending a marriage. In the United States, you can only be married to one person at a time.
If you want to marry the same person again after divorcing them, you’ll need to apply for a new marriage license.
And if you want to hold a second wedding ceremony, to celebrate an existing marriage (to celebrate an important anniversary, for example), this second ceremony is called a vow renewal ceremony, or a sequel wedding ceremony.
There’s no ‘take-two’ when it comes time for a couple to say ‘I do’-- Wedding officiants only get one shot to perform a perfect wedding ceremony.
Give yourself the tools and training you deserve to succeed as a wedding officiant, so that you can stand beside the lucky couple with complete confidence on their big day.
Become a Wedding Officiant with Our Free Online Ordination!