New Grounds for Divorce: Polygamy

Grounds for divorce here in “no fault” Florida are typically euphemized into “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. But that’s not so in all states.

In a New York subculture of immigrants from Africa, relationships are breaking or straining over much more graphic grounds: polygamy by the husband. A religious custom of multiple marriages has reportedly been imported with some Islamic African immigrants.

Although illegal and grounds for deportation, polygamy is apparently widely practiced by immigrant African families who often live “under the radar”.

A recent, much publicized building fire in the Bronx suddenly illuminated the polygamous lifestyles of some residents of the building.

Polygamy is associated with a culture of domestic violence and living conditions that may tend to attract the intervention of social services agencies.

Women from these immigrant groups often condemn polygamy. The men, however, reportedly defend or deny it.

Read more in this New York Times article: In Secret, Polygamy Follows Africans to N.Y.