The Marriage Law No.1/1974 adopted the Monogamy concept, whereby a man can only marry one woman, and a woman can only marry one man.
However the said Law also give possibility for men to practice Polygamy, i.e. marry more than one woman under very strict conditions, as follows :
1) The man should get an approval from the Court to marry another woman;
2) The man's wife is not able to fulfill obligations as a wife; or severely ill or cannot give birth to a child;
3) The man's wife should give a written approval for him to marry another woman;
4) The man should be morally & materially capable to support more than one family;
5) The man should be able treat his families equally;
Considering the above very strict conditions, some men would marry again illegally:
1) Based on his own religion but not registered with the registrar office as required by the Marriage Law, this illegal practice is known as SIRI Marriage.
Example: Illegal marriage between Syeh Puji(43) and Ulfa (12).
2) Only based on a mutual agreement between a man and woman, thus against the Marriage Law which require religious ceremony and official registration.
Note: Usually between an expatriate and an Indonesian woman.
Due to their illegal status, the man can dump his illegal wife anytime and any way he wants, and their children would only have legal relationship with the woman (as mother).
Considering the above, the Department of Religion has prepared a Bill of Law regarding unusual marriages i.e. Polygamy and Ilegal Marriages which will make people who are involved in illegal marriages criminals. This Bill has been supported by the Chief of the Supreme Court, Chief of the Constitutional Court, the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), memberrs of Parliament, and Female activists.
For detailed reports, please click here, here and here.
I hope that the Bill of Law would firmly determine the status of Unusual Marriages, including Polygamy.