Non-monogamy is moving away from being seen as a fringe practice for free-love hippies in communes to being a legitimate lifestyle choice for mainstream adults of all types. Approximately 1 in 5 people have tried non-monogamy at some point in their lives.[1] 

Shows like Sister-wives, Modern Love, and The Expanse are part of an explosion of media sparking interest in non-monogamy in the general public. Polyamory explainer and how-to articles are published everywhere from the online zines aimed at young adults to the AARP magazine that arrives (on paper!) in Boomer-generation mailboxes.

Whether young or older, starting single or “opening up” a traditional marriage, more people are trying out non-monogamy than ever before. The experience of trying out non-monogamy for the first time is a dizzying experience with emotional highs and lows as people try things out, have wild successes, and make big mistakes.

One thing that a lot of folks don’t think about when testing the waters of non-monogamy is the assortment of legal issues that come with stepping outside of the boundaries of traditional relationships. 

I am starting a series of informational posts for folks who are planning or newly participating in nonmonogamy. Even people who have been practicing this alternative lifestyle for a long time, may find something useful here they haven’t thought of.  I will address these in more detail in a book I am currently writing with my co-author Noel Figart (aka The Polyamorous Misanthrope).[2]

In this “Hot Polyam Summer” series, I will explore some key legal issues for non-monogamy and also some practical tips to help you avoid legal problems.

A word about words: In these blogs, I am using the terms polyamory, polyam, open marriage, non-monogamy, consensual non-monogamy, and CNM interchangeably, not because there aren’t differences in how those terms are used in the community, but because the legal concepts generally apply to many different forms of non-monogamous relationship. I do want to clarify, that whether I am using the modifier word or not, I am addressing people who want to practice consensual non-monogamy. I define consensual non-monogamy as adult relationships which may have sexual or romantic connections (or deep emotional bonding without sex or romance), between more than 2 people, who are participating in the relationships with informed consent of all persons involved (whose have the freedom to withdraw their consent).  I am not addressing anyone who is cheating, engaged in any kind of coercive nonmonogamy, or practicing non-monogamy in the context of a religious community.  I am attempting to be inclusive of those engaged in all types of CNM, from solo-polys, to throuples, to extended polycules living together, to relationship anarchists, to mono-poly relationships, and everything in between. I am also going to try to balance inclusion of folks in marginalized groups in my writings with “staying in my lane” as a middle-aged, straight-passing, middle-class, white woman.

Upcoming posts will include these topics:

  • Married and opening up
  • Solo and single polyamory
  • Polyamory and divorce
  • Polyamory and children
  • Avoiding legal troubles in your home, community, and workplace
  • Moving in together with your polycule
  • Relationship agreements for polyamorous couples, singles, and polycules
  • Creating a chosen family
  • Hosting a nonmonogamy group, party, or conference
  • “Caregiving unicorns” in polyfamilies
  • Non-monogamy, medical care, the end of life, and beyond
  • Reader Q and As

If you are reading this series and don’t see your situation reflected in the posts, have ideas for topics that you think should be addressed, or have more specific questions or concerns, drop me a line at, or visit the Work With Me page at

[1] Prevalence of Experiences With Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationships: Findings From Two National Samples of Single Americans – PubMed (

[2] See her writing at and .